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Erasmus accepts criticism over style as South Africa prepare for World Cup final

The Springboks have won few fans with their physical approach in Japan.

Rassie Erasmus has led South Africa to the World Cup final (David Davies/PA)
Rassie Erasmus has led South Africa to the World Cup final (David Davies/PA)

By Duncan Bech, PA, Tokyo

Rassie Erasmus insists South Africa are happy to have bored their way into Saturday’s World Cup final against England.

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The Springboks have reached the global showpiece for a third time but have won few fans in Japan after using conservative tactics based on the brute force of their forwards.

“If one understands where we’ve been coming from – being number six, seven or eight in the world – then we’ve had certain challenges,” Erasmus said.

“One of those challenges was to redeem ourselves and become a power again in world rugby and try to be ranked number one and two.

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“By doing that you have to have some building blocks in place and we’ve followed a certain route and played according to the stats and the way the game is being refereed currently. And what gives you good results in the short term and on the scoreboard.

“So we certainly accept that there are some things in the game that we have to improve and we take it on the chin.

“But we feel that we have put ourselves in a position to maybe win the World Cup and we are in the final.

“We accept the criticism but we are also happy that we are in the position to compete for a World Cup final, which is where we ultimately want to be.”

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South Africa’s star wing Cheslin Kolbe has recovered from an ankle injury and has been added to an otherwise unchanged squad for the final.

“What I do expect on the field is a very well-coached England team,” Erasmus said.

“A fit England team with a great tactical plan, and then obviously the physicality they brought in the semi-final New Zealand, was just on the next level.

“It’s been a long time since I saw an England team pitch up with that amount of physicality.

“They must be brimming with confidence and I’m sure they are ready to bring that same intensity. We will have to be really up to try and match that.”



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