Rugby World Cup semi-finals take centre stage

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England will take on New Zealand in the first semi-final match at the International Yokohama Stadium on Saturday, October 26.

The Red and White reached the last four after defeating Australia 40-16 in a quarter-final encounter on Saturday, October 19.

They will be making their fifth appearance in the World Cup semi-finals having failed to reach the knockout face in the previous tournament.

On the other hand, New Zealand progressed to the semi-finals after defeating Ireland 46-14 in a quarter-final game on Saturday, October 19.

The All Blacks will be making their eighth appearance in the World Cup semi-finals having won the previous competition.

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen is looking forward to facing England, who are coached by Eddie Jones.

“They’ve got a harder edge about them. He’s [Jones] been part of a winning World Cup team with South Africa and he’s had the disappointment of losing to England when he was coaching with Australia [in 2003] but to get to the final is being successful anyway even if you don’t win it,” he said.

“So he’s got the ability to understand what’s coming and he’ll share that with his coaching and management group and his playing group.”

Meanwhile, Wales are set to take on South Africa in the second semi-final match at the International Yokohama Stadium on Sunday, October 27.

The Dragons booked their place in the last four after defeating France 20-19 in a quarter-final game on Sunday, October 20.

They will be making their third appearance in the World Cup semi-finals having been eliminated in the quarter-finals in the previous tournament.

Meanwhile, South Africa secured their place in the semi-finals after defeating Japan 26-3 in a quarter-final encounter on Sunday, October 20.

The Springboks will be making their fifth appearance in the World Cup semi-finals having finished third in the previous competition.

South Africa head coach Rassie Erasmus has identified areas the Springboks need to improve ahead of their clash with Wales.

“We must find those pressure points and when we get the opportunity, we must utilise them and then don’t give away soft moments,” Erasmus said.

“It’s more to concentrate for the full 80 minutes where we need to improve if we want to try and win the World Cup.”

Key Match Stats

Head-to-Head

England v New Zealand

Matches: 41

England wins – 7

New Zealand wins – 33

Draws – 1

Squad

England Starting XV:
15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola

Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Dan Cole, 19 George Kruis, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Jonathan Joseph

New Zealand Starting XV:
15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Scott Barrett, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Cody Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Sonny Bill Williams, 23 Jordie Barrett

Head-to-Head

Wales v South Africa

Matches: 35

Wales wins – 6

South Africa wins – 28

Draws – 1

Squad

South Africa Starting XV:
15 Willie le Roux, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Francois Louw, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn

Wales Starting XV:
15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4  Jake Ball, 3 Tom Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones.

Substitutes: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Aaron Shingler, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Owen Watkin.

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