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Kruis: England need to ‘man up’ against South Africa

The Saracens lock says England have learned from their Six Nations mistakes ahead of Saturday’s World Cup final.

England’s George Kruis (left) and Manu Tuilagi after the 2019 Rugby World Cup Semi Final match at International Stadium Yokohama.
England’s George Kruis (left) and Manu Tuilagi after the 2019 Rugby World Cup Semi Final match at International Stadium Yokohama.

By Duncan Bech, PA England Rugby Correspondent, Tokyo

George Kruis insists England must “man up” in expectation of the physical onslaught expected from South Africa in Saturday’s World Cup final.

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The Yokohama showdown is a clash between the sport’s two most powerful teams who will fight out a bruising battle up-front in their quest to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy.

South Africa have signalled their intent to continue with the forward-led barrage that has served them well in Japan by naming only two backs on the bench, and Kruis is ready for a test of their courage.

“We know what’s coming – they have a good pack. A 6-2 split. It’s about manning up and dealing with it. We are looking forward to it,” the Lions lock said.

Kruis insists England have learned from the setbacks of this year’s Six Nations when they fell apart against Wales and Scotland despite having built strong leads. It is a theme that dates back to the 2018 summer tour to South Africa.

“We’ve dissected and looked across our previous games where there had been some issues,” Kruis said.

“The Wales game in the Six Nations… I think we’ve come through that and worked unbelievably hard.

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“To see it as something we’ve targeted and then seen the progression, it has been brilliant for us because we’ve really put some work into it.

“The final is a massive game but we have to see it as just another game and make sure that mentally it doesn’t get to you.

“That is a thing learned, but we’ve done a lot of work to build up to these moments.”

Handre Pollard insists South Africa have yet to show their full hand in Japan but knows both teams will play to their strengths when they collide in a repeat of the 2007 final.

“We’ve still got a few things we can throw at them but they’ve also got a blueprint, it’s pretty obvious. I don’t think it’s a big secret with either side,” the Springboks fly-half said.

“We’ll come out with a couple of different plays, something you try and surprise your opponents with.

“But in general, the DNA – what we believe in and what they believe in – is not going to change in a week’s time. It is what it is and that’s what got us here and what got them here.

“We won’t go away from something that’s working. We will have a couple of trick plays maybe, you never know. We will see on the day.

“But mostly, everything will stay the same for both sides. No disco lights.”



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