Rassie Eramus hints at THREE changes for England clash

 Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has hinted at three potential changes for his team’s Rugby World Cup semi-final with England.

SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus expects an epic Rugby World Cup semi-final between the Springboks and England on Saturday.


At 9:00 on Thursday, Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber will reveal his matchday lineup for the contest. In order to maintain a youthful atmosphere in the team, Erasmus suggested making three adjustments to the starting XV.

“There is a temptation to bring Lukhanyo (Am) in this week and start Handre (Pollard) and Faf (de Klerk), as well as Canan (Moodie), and we are also thinking of a six-two split on the bench,” stated Erasmus.

“Every player in our roster is healthy, so we have a choice of 33 guys. We also are interested in what they do. We’ll need to make plans if they choose for a six-two split.

“We can also bring in a guy like Jean Kleyn who will bring some physicality against their tall lineout options. That’s probably the reason we are only announcing our team two days before the match.”


The 29-28 victory over France by the world champions on Sunday was one of the greatest rugby matches in contemporary history, if not all of history. The French captain Antoine Dupont, who suffered a jaw fracture earlier in the competition, put up a brilliant individual performance, but it wasn’t enough to advance the hosts to the semifinals. Many Springboks, including the bruised and bleeding Jesse Kriel, put on inspiring performances of their own. There may be a strong temptation to rest Kriel against England, but how is it possible to do so after a performance like that?


Rassie Erasmus predicts England 23 for World Cup semi-final against Springboks

Rassie Erasmus took a stab at predicting England’s matchday 23 for the Rugby World Cup semi-final against the Springboks.

Erasmus, South African Rugby’s director of rugby, revealed the team during a press conference on Tuesday after comparing the two teams’ match minutes throughout the competition.

Respect for England

He was initially questioned about whether he had considered playing the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup.

Speaking of the All Blacks, in Erasmus’ opinion, would be disrespectful to England.

“I was just looking at the possible teams I think can play; we average 200 minutes per player, they 260; the average cap of our team will be about 54, they’ll be about 59, the average age of our team is 30 and the average age of their team is 29, and then the average weight is 104/150.”

Since Borthwick was appointed, England has remained unbeaten and their commitment to doing the right thing has paid off.

The team is full of confidence, and they will undoubtedly be hurting from not only last year’s defeat, but also from the World Cup Final in 2019, so you should respect them.

When a reporter expressed interest in the team that Erasmus had noted down later in the press conference, Erasmus was delighted to oblige but added, “We are assuming, obviously.”

Only two positions presented the Bok manager with more than one option: full-back, where Marcus Smith and Freddie Steward were named, and replacement scrum-half, where Ben Youngs and Danny Care were mentioned.

Erasmus predicts England’s team

When questioned about the potential stumbling blocks or speed bumps England would present, Erasmus responded, “Guessing the team is interesting.

Will Freddie Steward or Marcus Smith participate? Marcus possesses a significant X Factor, while Freddie is amazing under the high ball.

Will Tuilagi play outside center and Owen [Farrell] inside, or will Ford play fly-half and drop everything there?

They have Courtney [Lawes] there, who is capable of playing flank and lock. He’s been such a rock for them at flank, and their enthusiasm with the other two young loose forwards displays such enthusiasm in all areas of the field.

“They’ve got Sinckler, Jamie [George], and so many experienced players have played against us last time, and I think because they played us at the end of year last year, they played us in the World Cup in the World Cup final, I think they will have some beef with us.

“I think they will be very physical; I think they will definitely step it up at all set phases.”

Erasmus’ predicted England team: 15 Marcus Smith/Freddie Steward, 14 Jonny May, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Ollie Chessum, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge

Predicted replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Dan Cole, 19 George Martin, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Ben Youngs/Danny Care, George Ford, Ollie Lawrence.

After reading off the list, Erasmus added with a grin: “That’s who we think, but we might be totally wrong.”

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