Saturday evening sees the second Rugby World Cup semi-final as England takes on South Africa at the Stade de France in a repeat of the 2019 final.
South Africa have had to battle their way to this stage, facing Scotland and Ireland in the pool stages before edging out France in one of the greatest-ever World Cup matches.
England have had an easier passage, winning all four pool games, including against fellow semi-finalists Argentina, before defeating Fiji in last weekend’s quarter-final.
The bookmakers make South Africa solid favourites for this clash – can the Springboks seal their place in next weekend’s final, or will England pull off a huge shock?
Springboks look a class above
England arrived into the 2023 Rugby World Cup with low expectations after a disappointing Six Nations and losing to Fiji for the first time in a pre-tournament friendly.
To have reached this stage is admirable, but they have been far from impressive in doing so.
Steve Borthwick’s side kicked off the tournament with a win over Argentina, who under-performed massively, before thrashing the minnows in Pool D, Chile.
A nail-biting one-point victory over Samoa followed, and although they defeated Fiji in the quarter-finals, it was by no means a comprehensive victory.
England have been aided by being on the easier side of the draw thus far, with three of the top five nations in the world already on the plane home from the other half.
In contrast, South Africa have faced three top-quality nations in, Scotland, Ireland, and France to reach this stage as they aim to win back-to-back Rugby World Cups.
Their victory over France was one of the best performances ever seen at a Rugby World Cup, edging out the hosts by a single point in front of a partisan crowd.
And having named the same starting XV for Saturday’s clash with England, the Springboks will look to dominate proceedings upfront in the first half before releasing the quality from their bench in the second.
The Springboks are likely to bring an intensity that England are yet to face in this tournament and it’s hard to argue against the fact that South Africa have better quality in every position.
There is the slight danger that South Africa could be sluggish after last weekend’s proceedings but this is a top-quality Springboks side and they should have no issued in dispatching England and sealing a spot in the Rugby World Cup final.
For betting purposes, a play on South Africa -13 points looks excellent value at odds of 2.00.