Action from yesterday's quarter-final in Marseille. James Crombie/INPHO

'We're not here for a holiday' - England look to World Cup test against South Africa

England, champions in 2003, clung on for victory over Fiji in Marseille yesterday.

ENGLAND ATTACK COACH Richard Wigglesworth said on Monday his side will be in with a chance when they play holders and favourites South Africa in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals on Saturday.

England are underdogs after failing to impress in their quarter-final win over Fiji and during their group campaign.

The Springboks have looked even better than they did when they lifted the Webb Ellis trophy four years ago and edged hosts France in the last-eight in a thrilling encounter on Sunday.

The winner on Saturday will face either New Zealand or Argentina in the decider on 28 October.

“Why does everyone turn up to watch sport because you don’t know the result beforehand,” Wigglesworth told reporters.

“It would be boring if you knew the result.

“We’re not here for a holiday, or just to turn up, we want to put the best of ourselves on the field.

“We do that, we’ll be in with a chance,” the former Test scrum-half added.

England, champions in 2003, clung on for victory over the Pacific Islanders in Marseille as full-back Marcus Smith bore the brunt of Fiji’s confrontational style, finishing with a blood-stained shirt and a bruised face.

“I’ve been telling everybody how brave he is,” Wigglesworth said.

“He gets his head in places where he can take those shots.

“He has a fat lip but we’re just waiting for everyone to clear medicals,” he added.

- Nothing to do with 2019-

The Springboks’ one-point win over France came in part thanks to head coach Jacques Nienaber’s second-half substitution choices.

He introduced World Cup winning half-backs Handre Pollard and Faf de Klerk and back-rower turned hooker Deon Fourie at half time. Abrasive flanker Kwagga Smith and experienced full-back Willie le Roux came on even later and played big roles.

“You can tell they’re a smart, diligent coaching team,” Wigglesworth said.

“If you think who came on, Handre came on and had a big game on the field. Willie le Roux, a massively experienced player, had an effect on the game.

“They know they have all these different selection combinations to choose from,” he added.

Another element to the Boks’ substitutes is how many forwards and three-quarters they select among the eight replacements.

Against France they went with five players from the pack and three from among the backs after having experimented with different options before and during the World Cup.

“They’re in a great place in terms of a squad with multiple threats,” Wigglesworth said.

“If they want to go seven-one, five-three, they make that work because they’re bringing on very good players,” he added.

Saturday’s match at the Stade de France is a rerun of the 2019 final, when South Africa crushed England 32-12, but Wigglesworth played down the effect of the match four years ago.

“I wouldn’t like to pre-empt what impact those feelings from four years ago has on this game,” Wigglesworth said.

“On Saturday night, we have to be clear about this is the semi-final of 2023, nothing to do with 2019,” he added.

– © AFP 2023