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England may have peaked, says Gatland


Wales coach Warren Gatland
Wales coach Warren Gatland
Jonathan Bradley

By Jonathan Bradley

Wales coach Warren Gatland has warned England will have to ensure they have not peaked too early if they are to win the World Cup for a second time this weekend.

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England, who put in one of the all-time great tournament performances to dethrone the All Blacks, will take on South Africa in the final on Saturday after the Springboks edged past Gatland's own Wales side yesterday.

"We have seen in previous World Cups that teams sometimes play their final in semi-finals and don't always turn up for a final," said Gatland, who will leave his position as Wales coach for a job with the Chiefs back in New Zealand after Friday's bronze medal match. "So it will be interesting to see how England are next week."

Gatland, who was gracious in defeat after the heartbreaking last-four loss, believes the Springboks can be a match for England but added that they may have to play a more ambitious brand of rugby than in yesterday's 19-16 arm wrestle.

"They have the physicality to match England. I thought England were outstanding against New Zealand but South Africa might have a very good chance. They might have to be a bit more expansive, though," he said.

"They had a pretty simple game plan in terms of the scrums and box kicking from De Klerk and Pollard. It was very effective and for them it was about making the final and doing whatever it took to do that."

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