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Route to the final – How England and South Africa set up Saturday’s showdown

The two nations meet in a re-run of 2007 World Cup final, which South Africa won 15-6.

England and South Africa will contest the Webb Ellis Cup in Yokohama on Saturday (Adam Davy/PA)
England and South Africa will contest the Webb Ellis Cup in Yokohama on Saturday (Adam Davy/PA)

By PA Sport Staff

England and South Africa meet in the World Cup final in Yokohama on Saturday.

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South Africa – who beat England in the 2007 final – are chasing a third triumph, while the Red Rose are hoping for a second win to add to their 2003 success.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at each team’s progress through the tournament.

(PA Graphics)


Pool C: England 35 Tonga 3

Manu Tuilagi touched down twice as England opened with a victory in Sapporo, but they had to wait until the 77th minute to pick up the bonus point, with Luke Cowan-Dickie crossing for their fourth and final try.

Key stat: England conceded three points, their joint-fewest in a Rugby World Cup match. They also conceded three against Romania in 2011, as well as versus Uruguay in 2015.

Pool C: England 45 United States 7

Eddie Jones’ men came close to recording their first World Cup whitewash with a seven-try performance against the US, but Bryce Campbell scored for the Eagles after the final gong, with the Americans having been reduced to 14 men thanks to John Quill’s red card for a shoulder to the head of Owen Farrell.

Key stat: This was the first time since 1995 that England had kept their opponents scoreless in the first half of a World Cup match.

Joe Cokanasiga touched down twice for England against USA (Adam Davy/PA)

Pool C: England 39 Argentina 10

The Pumas had Tomas Lavanini sent off for another shoulder to Farrell’s head inside the opening 20 minutes, making England’s job easier in what should have been their toughest test of the World Cup to that point. The 2003 champions’ final Pool C clash with France was cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis, which saw them top the group by two points from Les Bleus.

Key stat: England became the first team to claim a place in the quarter-finals with this victory.

Argentina had Tomas Lavanini sent off (Ashley Western/PA)

Quarter-final: England 40 Australia 16

Jonny May crossed for two of England’s four tries as he collected his 50th cap, with Jones’ side racking up the most points the Wallabies had conceded in a World Cup fixture. The win in Oita set up a semi-final clash with champions New Zealand and prompted Wallabies coach Michael Cheika to stand down.

Key stat: Owen Farrell’s 20 points were the most by an England captain in a World Cup match, beating the previous record of 17 by Rob Andrew against Italy in 1995.

Semi-final: England 19 New Zealand 7

England stormed into a 10-0 lead as Manu Tuilagi’s second-minute try and a long-range penalty from George Ford rewarded a dominant first half. Ford added another penalty before All Blacks flanker Ardie Savea pounced on a wayward line-out throw to reduce the deficit to 13-7. But England held their nerve and Ford slotted another two penalties to defeat the three-time world champions.

Key stat: England’s 16 turnovers were the most by any side at this year’s World Cup and equalled their own record at the tournament.

South Africa

Pool B: South Africa 13 New Zealand 23

South Africa faced a daunting start to the competition with a pool opener against New Zealand.  Though the match never quite lived up to the hype, two tries in three first-half minutes from George Bridge and Scott Barrett put the All Blacks in command. Pieter-Steph du Toit’s try and a Handre Pollard drop-goal made it tense but two penalties saw the All Blacks home.

Key stat: This was the first time in five All Blacks-Springboks games that the score was settled by more than two points.

Pool B: South Africa 57 Namibia 3

South Africa ran in nine tries to overwhelm their African neighbours Namibia. Hooker Mbongeni Mbonambi ploughed over for two tries as the Springboks built a 28-point lead by the interval. There was no let-up after the break with Warrick Gelant going over before scores for Makazole Mapimpi, Siya Kolisi and Schalk Brits.

Key stat: Former Saracens star Brits, the 38-year-old hooker, lined up in the back-row, reprising a number eight role he last played a decade ago.

South Africa hooker Schalk Brits (right) lined up at number eight against Namibia (Adam Davy/PA)

Pool B: South Africa 49 Italy 3

Italy were punished as prop Andrea Lovotti was sent off for a tip-tackle. Handre Pollard converted tries from Cheslin Kolbe and Mbongeni Mbonambi, and added a penalty as the Springboks opened up a 17-3 interval lead. Lovotti’s dismissal opened the floodgates as Kolbe crossed for his second score and Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, RG Snyman and Malcolm Marx also went over.

Key stat: Pollard became the highest points-scorer for the Springboks at the Rugby World Cup, surpassing Percy Montgomery’s previous record.

Handre Pollard is South Africa’s top points scorer in Rugby World Cup history (Ashley Western/PA)

Pool B: South Africa 66 Canada 7

South Africa produced a dazzling first-half display with a big win over 14-man Canada. The Springboks ran in seven tries in the first half, with scrum-half Cobus Reinach notching the earliest hat-trick in a World Cup game after 20 minutes. Canada had Josh Larsen sent off for a charging into a ruck before half-time, and South Africa scored three more tries after the break.

Key stat: Cobus Reinach scored the quickest hat-trick in World Cup history with three tries in the opening 20 minutes.

South Africa’s Cobus Reinach (right) claimed a slice of World Cup history with a 20-minute hat-trick against Canada (Adam Davy/PA)

Quarter-final: South Africa 26 Japan 3

South Africa ended Japan’s dream World Cup run by making their physicality count against the hosts. Makazole Mapimpi’s try put the Springboks ahead, but Tendai Mtawarira was shown a yellow card for a tip tackle and Japan only trailed 5-3 at the break. Second-half tries from Faf De Klerk and Mapimpi plus Handre Pollard’s 11 points put the Springboks out of reach

Key stat: South Africa extended their record of winning all line-outs on their own throw at the 2019 World Cup. The Springboks won all 10 to take their tally to 57 out of 57 – the only side not to lose a line-out on their own throw.

Faf de Klerk scores South Africa’s second try in their World Cup quarter-final win against Japan (Adam Davy/PA)

Semi-final: South Africa 19 Wales 16

Handre Pollard’s 76th-minute penalty snatched victory for South Africa in a war of attrition against Wales. Three Pollard penalties gave them a 9-6 interval lead as the contest developed into a kicking battle. Dan Biggar levelled before Damian De Allende’s burst put South Africa 16-9 ahead. Wales responded again with Josh Adams’ converted try before Pollard proved the hero.

Key stat: South Africa made 39 kicks, their most since the 2007 final win against England when they made 48.



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