RWC Match Day Programme: England vs South Africa

RWC Match Day Programme: England vs South Africa

Four years ago in Japan, South Africa triumphed over a very strong England side that had nullified an All Blacks team in the semi-final. The same All Blacks team that had beaten the Springboks in their first pool stage. Four years later, an England side that had been doubted in the build up to this world cup, will now face off against their 2019 nemesis in a repeat of the last world cup final. Farrell will seek to gain his revenge, while Kolisi will look to continue to reign supreme, and set up a final against the old foe from the long white cloud. With the All Blacks already in the final, today we will find out who will be their dance partner in Paris on October 28th when it all comes to a close in Paris. Thank You for Joining us, this is Ultimate Rugby Match Day, the Rugby World cup edition.

Fixture: England vs South Africa  

Venue: Stade de France, St. Dennis, France

Kickoff Time: 20:05 (GMT)

Referee: Ben O'Keefe

Head-to-head Played:

Played: 45

England Wins: 16

South Africa Wins: 27

Draws: 2

Rugby World Cup Head-to-Head 

Played: 5

England Wins: 1

South Africa Wins: 4

Draws: 0

Points for:

England: 769

South Africa: 972 

Biggest winning margin:

South Africa: 48 ( 26 May 2007)

Last Meeting:  26 November 2022 – England 29-24 South Africa, Twickenham, England


World Cup Results


W 52-8  v Namibia

W 38-17 v Uruguay

L 96-17 v New Zealand 

South Africa

W 18-3 v Scotland

W 76-0 v Romania

L  13-8 v Irleand

W 49-18 v Tonga

W 28-29 v France (QF) 

Referee:  Ben O'Keefe

Debut as Referee: 2016

Tests as Referee: 42

RWC Games as Referee: 8

 • He becomes the first New Zealander to referee a Rugby World Cup semi-final since Steve Walsh in 2007 between South Africa and Argentina (Walsh joined Rugby Australia in 2010).

• He has refereed this fixture once before, in the first test at Ellis Park in 2018 during England’s tour of South Africa.

• This will be the seventh time he has refereed England, but the first at the Rugby World Cup.

• This will be the ninth time he has refereed South Africa, and the third time in the past five weeks at RWC 2023

Team News:

England: Head coach Steve Borthwick has made three changes to the match-day team that narrowly beat Fiji last game, naming Joe Marler at loose-head in place of Ellis Genge who drops to the bench, swapping George Martin in the second-row with Ollie Chessum who started last week, and recalling Freddie Steward. Joe Marler will make just his third start of the year after earning six of his eight caps in 2023 off the bench. He has not started against South Africa since 2018 in Cape Town. He has averaged just 33 minutes of game-time this year. 

South Africa: • Head coach Jacques Nienaber has named an unchanged match-day team for the first time at RWC 2023. There are six players in this match-day team who have played in each of their past two Rugby World Cup semi-finals since 2015 – Willie Le Roux, Damian de Allende, Handre Pollard, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, and Duane Vermeulen. Jacques Nienaber has named a 5-3 split on the bench for the third consecutive match, and fourth time at RWC 2023. This is also the third time they have named this replacement combination against England since 2021 after choosing a 6-2 split for the RWC 2019 final. 

• Both teams have climbed the World Rugby Rankings following their quarter-final victories, with England moving up one place into fifth, and South Africa two places into first.

• This will be the first time since the rankings system was introduced at RWC 2003 that the Springboks have entered the semi-finals ranked number one in the world.

• The Springboks have returned to number one for the first time since July 2022, ending Ireland’s 15-month reign at the top.

• This will be the fourth time they have met in at Stade de France. Three of their previous five Rugby World Cup meetings have come at this venue, with South Africa enjoying an average winning margin of 22.7 points in Saint-Denis. • England have never scored a try against South Africa at Stade de France, with all 27 points since 1999 coming via nine penalty goals.

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