England will meet South Africa in the Rugby World Cup 2023.

England is the only team with a perfect record in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals, having won all five games.

They are unbeaten, but not without doubt.

Victories over Argentina, Japan, Chile, Samoa, and Fiji have kept England’s campaign moving along at a steady pace. Not all of the victories have been convincing, but they have all ended up on the right side of the scoreboard.

The catch is that they have also been on the winning side.

The velvet rope is dropped on Saturday night, and they rub elbows with the tournament’s high rollers.

LISTEN: Rugby Union Weekly examines England’s prospects
South Africa, the incumbent champions who deposed the hosts in their own Parisian revolution last weekend, have long set the type of standards to which England coach Steve Borthwick’s team aspire.

The Springboks are a massively powerful team with a thrilling tempo, whose patterns run along well-worn grooves. They may out-gas opponents with speed out wide or overwhelm them with diesel grunt in the middle.

Former England coach Eddie Jones’ attempt to add dimensions to the team finally failed. He intended to develop a team that could shift tack and swap tactics mid-match after the previous Rugby World Cup and that bitter final defeat by South Africa.


Instead, the changeover was bungled, and it was the winners who were successful in expanding their repertoire.

The credit goes to Jacques Nienaber, Rassie Erasmus, and Mzwandile Stick, members of a long-standing coaching brain trust. They’ve got more time than Borthwick, who was appointed at the end of last year. And they’ve made good use of it.

They have overseen a slow evolution of their backline since Japan 2019, bringing through playmakers Manie Libbok and Damien Willemse and rising sevens specialist Kurt-Lee Arendse into the Test game.

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