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South Africa comes back to beat England in semifinals Rugby .

England vs South Africa result, highlights and analysis as Springboks

The Sporting News followed the match live, providing updates and commentary below.

England vs South Africa full-time score
England 15
South Africa 16
Tries: Snyman

Conversions: Pollard

Penalties: Farrell (4); Libbok, Pollard (2)

Drop Goals: Farrell

England vs South Africa full commentary, highlights

FT: What a finish at the Stade de France! A late, late Springboks surge in the final 10 minutes sends Jacques Nienaber’s side to the Rugby World Cup final, and condemns England to another four years of hurt despite putting in a performance worthy of winning any game! Owen Farrell’s drop goal re-established a nine-point lead for England, who fought, scrapped and tackled their way towards full-time. The Springboks couldn’t be held out forever though, and finally got over for the game’s only try thanks to the sheer size and power of RG Snyman. A scrum penalty on halfway gave South Africa their best chance yet to win the game, and Handre Pollard took it with both hands to score the long-range three-pointer which turned the tide in the Boks’ favour. They’ll take old their nemesis New Zealand in next week’s decider, while England bow out of the tournament having pushed the reigning champions closer than anyone could have imagined.

81 mins: England’s forwards take the ball in hard as they look to set for a drop goal, but a loose carry sees it spill out and the Springboks will win it!

80 mins: Drop-goal specialist George Ford is on for England’s final seconds, and with Farrell already having notched one in this game, it’s pretty clear what the game-plan is from here as the clock ticks down!

78 mins: PENALTY – England 15-16 South Africa! The Springboks hit the front! Pollard steps up from just inside the halfway line, and it’s as straight as an arrow between the sticks to put South Africa ahead by a point!

77 mins: A crucial shove wins the Springboks a scrum penalty! It’s reset by the referee several times, but once the front rows hold, South Africa drive England sidewards and backwards to gain a long-range shot at winning this semi-final!

73 mins: After Itoje latches onto a knock-on from Steward’s bomb into the back-field, Farrell sends the ball high again from the very next play. Le Roux’s underneath it though, and is able to call the mark from just inside his 22, from which the Springboks elect to scrum down!

71 mins: The kick-off slips between Mostert’s fingers and straight into the grasp of Care, but he’s seized upon straight away and driven into touch by Kwagga Smith!

69 mins: TRY – England 15-13 South Africa! The Springboks are well and truly back in this! Off a penalty line-out, Snyman brings the ball down and Fourie peels off the back to bulldoze his way to within metres of the line. It’s popped back out to Snyman on the next phase, and the giant second-rower barges over for the first try of the night! Pollard adds the extras, and it’s a two-point ball game with 10 minutes left on the clock!

67 mins: De Klerk sends another kick skyward, but Steward is there to take the catch and return it with feeling. Farrell hoists the ball up once again, but an England knock-on gives the Boks head-and-feed at the scrum.

65 mins: Strong carries from replacement forwards RG Snyman and Vincent Koch lay a platform in England’s half, but Kolbe is isolated out wide at the next phase and his opposite number May wins the turnover penalty!

63 mins: Curry and Earl both carry well on the loose for England, but the latter loses the pill on the deck. Le Roux looks to open up space in behind with a cross-field kick, but it’s far too short and May takes the catch.

61 mins: Winning a scrum penalty with a huge shove on their own five-metre line, the Springboks attempt a short-side move from the attacking line-out. Mbonambi and replacement Fourie combine down the right, but the hooker is dumped into touch by a brilliant Danny Care tackle!

58 mins: Le Roux spills a high ball to leave the Springboks scrambling, and Farrell spots space to kick in behind. It’s bouncing all over the place for a retreating Arendse, who also puts it down to give England a scrum feed less than 10 metres from the try-line!

55 mins: The Boks launch an attacking Lin-out and shift possession from right to left, but Kriel can’t keep hold of a short-ball from Pollard and England have it back once more!

53 mins: DROP GOAL! England 15-6 South Africa! A successful counter-ruck gains England possession on the halfway line, and Farrell’s wasting no time as he launches a drop-goal over from long range! England lead by nine, in a scoreline that reflects a reverse the 2007 final between these two sides – which came at this very stadium.

52 mins: So close for the Springboks! A huge shove at the scrum turns the ball over into South African hands, and Pollard chips across-field to Kolbe. He catches it cleanly and grubbers through for Willie le Roux to chase, but the replacement full-back’s kick ahead is a touch too deep and bounces over the dead-ball line before he can plant it down!

49 mins: De Allende carries well off the back of a Springbok score, but Kitshoff has the ball torn free from the next phase and England turn it over! Mitchell’s box-kick floats straight into touch though, giving South Africa a reprieve and the throw at line-out time.

47 mins: A succession of poor line-out throws from George gift the Springboks an easy exit, and we pack down for another scrum after Daly spills the clearing box-kick of Fat de Klerk, who is on at scrum-half for Reinach.

44 mins: After a high kick from Mitchell is batted back into England’s possession, Farrell stabs a grubber through the line and into the 22. Willemse’s on hand to clean up for the Boks, but slips over and spills the ball into touch to give England the line-out throw!

41 mins: South Africa resume proceedings at the Stade de France, as Pollard kicks short looking to re-gain possession in England’s half!

HT: We’re back, and ready for the second half to get underway. It’s too tight to call at this stage, but given how indisciplined they were both with and without the ball in the first period, you’d imagine the Springboks will be out to produce a significant response in the next 40 minutes.

HT: The first half ends with no tries, six penalties, and plenty of heavy contact, with England leading 12-6 at the break. It’s been a stop-start encounter amidst a downpour in Saint-Denis, but the contact, fight and sheer competitiveness at every single breakdown leaves this game on a knife-edge with 40 to go. Farrell has been flawless off the tee so far, nailing four penalties to put England six in front with their pack fronting up massively to match the Springboks. South Africa have had their fair share of penalties too, but inaccuracy at the set-piece has hindered their progress, aside from Libbok and his replacement Pollard’s two three-pointers.

39 mins: PENALTY – England 12-6 South Africa. Kolbe climbs above the pack to take a high-altitude catch, but Du Toit is pinged for obstructing the kick chase and England get another penalty! From distance, Farrell adds another three, edging his charges into a six-point lead.

37 mins: A short line-out move between Itoje and George is snuffed out by Etzebeth, and the hooker’s grubber ahead is scooped up and thumped clear by Kolbe.

35 mins: PENALTY – England 6-9 South Africa. Pollard points to the sticks and nails his first attempt from right in front, adding another three points and cutting England’s lead to three.

34 mins: Knock-ons in their own 22 from Daly and Vunipola put England under intense pressure, and the Springboks gain a ruck penalty as their pack powers towards the try-line!

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32 mins: A big, big call from South Africa, as Libbok is withdrawn after little over half an hour! Handre Pollard enters the fray at fly-half, and this is a gamble that the Springboks will hope pays dividends. Billy Vunipola also replaces Tom Curry after the England flanker heads to the blood-bin.

30 mins: England gain another penalty, but George’s throw into the line-out is clawed back onto the Springbok side by Etzebeth. Libbok’s clearance bounces kindly for Steward, who makes good metres before South Africa turn the ball over and win a penalty of their own!

26 mins: A set line-out move sees Arendse collect the inside ball to burst down the blindside, but he’s caught, isolated on the deck, and has possession turned over by Lawes!

24 mins: PENALTY – England 9-3 South Africa. Play comes back for the penalty, and Farrell sends another routine attempt over as England’s advantage returns to six points.

23 mins: A loose offload from Willemse is dived on by Lawes, putting the Springboks under pressure as England gain penalty advantage in the 22! Following good stepping from Earl, Farrell chips to the corner, but it’s just over the head of Daly and sails into touch!

21 mins: PENALTY – England 6-3 South Africa. The Boks are on the board following a ruck penalty, as Libbok knocks the long-range kick over from just inside the halfway line.

18 mins: Mostert’s knock-on surrenders possession, and the scrum goes down on Kitshoff’s side to gift England another exit penalty!

15 mins: England are caught offside and concede a penalty within Libbok’s kicking range. However, South Africa elect to kick to the corner, but their line-out maul is taken down and turned over by dogged defence from the 2019 runners-up! A fracas breaks out soon afterwards, and the instigator Tuilagi is penalised to gift the Springboks further field position!

13 mins: After two failed attempts, Mbonambi’s throw at line-out time is spot on. Libbok clears with a box-kick, and Steward is smashed by the chasing Arendse and Kolisi!

10 mins: PENALTY – England 6-0 South Africa. After the Boks are a bit too keen to scoop up a loose ball, they’re penalised for offside. Up steps Farrell to notch three more points, and double England’s lead in the process.

7 mins: The Springbok scrum holds firm and Lubbock launches a bomb high into the sky. Steward’s underneath it securely though, and Mitchell grubbers into touch from the good-ball position.

3 mins: PENALTY – England 3-0 South Africa. The men in white open the scoring after Mostert is pinged at the breakdown. Farrell steps up and slots an easy three-pointer over to give England the lead!

Kick-Off: We are off and running in Saint-Denis! England captain Owen Farrell launches the first kick into South African territory!

5 mins to KO: Here they come, and here comes the rain too on a wet, wet night at the Stade de France! The teams line up to sing their respective national anthems, and we’ll be underway immediately after God Save the King and Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika!

10 mins to KO: The final preparations are done and dusted as the players prepare to leave the tunnel, and the packed-out crowd awaits the arrival of their heroes with kick-off just moments away!

15 mins to KO: England went into the 2019 World Cup Final as heavy favourites for some, but in the 2023 semi, the shoe is firmly on the other foot. The stage is set, and we’re ready for another salivating contest at the Stade de France!

30 mins to KO: The Springboks XV is unchanged from their nail-biting victory over France, while England have made three changes in a bid to match South Africa’s power game. Freddie Steward returns at the back, while Joe Marler and George Martin move from the bench into the front and second-rows respectively.

45 mins to KO: New Zealand stormed to the decider last night, putting Argentina’s tournament hopes to the sword with a seven-try victory. The 44-6 scoreline was one of the largest winning margins in a World Cup semi-final, and both England and South Africa will be hoping to emulate the All Blacks’ dominance in a bid to join them in a week’s time.

1 hour to KO: South Africa’s 29-28 victory over hosts France in last week’s quarter-final was a better advert for this tournament than the sport could ever have dreamed of, and to get past a stubborn England side, the Boks will need to raise their game once again – as they did four years ago in the 2019 final.

1 hour 15 mins to KO: Of the three teams left competing for the Webb Ellis Cup, only England have won every game they’ve played so far. New Zealand and South Africa both lost to France and Ireland respectively before sending the pair home in the quarter-finals, and the Springboks will be hoping they can bring about a first defeat of the tournament for Steve Borthwick’s side.

1 hour 30 mins to KO: Good evening, and welcome to the second semifinal of the 2023 Rugby World Cup. A meeting with New Zealand awaits next weekend, but first, England and South Africa will collide at the Stade de France to determine which of the 2019 finalists makes a second consecutive World Cup final appearance.

England vs South Africa confirmed line-ups
Marcus Smith hardly put a foot wrong at fullback against Fiji, but the world champions are an entirely different proposition for England to deal with at the back. The high-ball security and hulking frame of Freddie Steward returns to the No. 15 jersey in one of three changes, while at inside centre, Manu Tuilagi starts hoping to repeat his heroics of four years ago, when his early try in a dominant semifinal performance took England past the All Blacks.

England’s other two changes come in the tight five, with Steve Borthwick making some big calls ahead of this game. Joe Marler starts ahead of vice-captain Ellis Genge at loosehead prop, and Ollie Chessum is replaced in the second-row by George Martin. The latter is winning only his seventh England cap but gets the starting nod alongside Maro Itoje, with Genge, Chessum and the rest of the replacements hoping to make an impact sizeable enough to overcome the Springboks’ infamous ‘bomb squad’.

England starting XV: Freddie Steward, Jonny May, Joe Marchant, Manu Tuilagi, Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, Alex Mitchell; Joe Marler, Jamie George, Dan Cole, Maro Itoje, George Martin, Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Ben Earl.

England replacements: Theo Dan, Ellis Genge, Kyle Sinckler, Ollie Chessum, Billy Vunipola, Danny Care, George Ford, Ollie Lawrence.

The Springboks are unchanged from that epic quarterfinal with France, having all played their part as Jacques Nienaber’s side hung on in the second half. The contribution of backs Kurt-Lee Arendse, Damian de Allende and Cheslin Kolbe saw all three cross for first-half tries, with Kolbe’s coming off the back of a charged-down conversion from France’s Thomas Ramos. Preventing those two points proved crucial in the end.

The key contribution, though, came from Eben Etzebeth, who bulldozed his way over to score the only five-pointer of the second half and wrestle the game back into South African hands. He and Franco Mostert pack down together in the second row, while hooker Bongi Mbonambi, utility Deon Fourie, veteran Duane Vermeulen and the devilish Kwagga Smith will all be looking to back up superb quarterfinal performances to take the Springboks to a second consecutive World Cup final.

South Africa starting XV: Damian Willemse, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe, Manie Libbok, Cobus Reinach; Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Duane Vermeulen.

South Africa replacements: Deon Fourie, Ox Nche, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Kwagga Smith, Faf de Klerk, Handre Pollard, Willie le Roux

MORE: Every single team to have lifted the Rugby World Cup trophy
The last time these two sides met was a tumultuous period to say the least, particularly for English rugby. South Africa’s dominant 27-13 victory at Twickenham proved to be the last game in charge for Eddie Jones, the coach who had taken England to the 2019 World Cup final. In his place, Steve Borthwick was hired, and he’s just one game away from repeating that feat.

England’s form at this tournament has been perfect — at face value. Argentina, Japan, Chile, Samoa and Fiji have all provided highlights — Los Pumas also made the semifinals — and England have beaten all of them. However, only Japan and Chile were defeated with bonus points, and the narrow wins over both Samoa and Fiji in their last two games showed that England are certainly gettable.

In short, this semifinal requires a huge step up in quality for Borthwick’s side, and that’s why we think that the Springboks will be victorious at the Stade de France. South Africa have already shown they can match, and beat, the world’s best, and we think that they’ll do the latter in Saint-Denis.

England win 4.80 9/2
Draw (after 80 mins) 31.00 28/1
South Africa win 1.20 2/11
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South Africa comes back to beat England in semifinals Rugby .


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