"Aren't as fit" - Sir Clive Woodward makes bold World Cup semi-final prediction - Ruck

“Aren’t as fit” – Sir Clive Woodward makes bold World Cup semi-final prediction

In a daring prediction, Sir Clive Woodward, the former England boss, envisions the potential for an upset in the Rugby World Cup semi-final.

However, he expresses disagreement with the selection made by Steve Borthwick.

Freddie Steward replaces Marcus Smith, who failed the return-to-play protocols after a knock in the quarter-final win over Fiji.

George Martin comes into the second row in place of Ollie Chessum.

Vice-captain Ellis Genge drops to the bench alongside George Ford as Owen Farrell retains his fly-half role.

Writing in the Mail Online, he wrote: “South Africa are hot favourites for their World Cup semi-final with England but that’s a tricky position to be in. Steve Borthwick’s side have a chance of a huge upset.

“It’s David v Goliath but we’ve already seen lots of shocks in France. England can spring another. 

“To beat the Springboks, it will take a fantastic performance and coherent thinking around selection and tactics.”


Woodward added: “I believe South Africa aren’t as fit as England, even with their replacements. The Springboks look to slow the game down at every opportunity,

“They rotate their side, and their backroom team are constantly on the field bringing on water.

“England need to counter that. When South Africa look to slow things down, England need to speed it up. At line-outs and scrums, get the ball gone.

“Bringing on the likes of Genge and Arundell for the second half can maintain the tempo. England can’t just box kick, box kick, box kick. Part of the reason I’d go for Care over Mitchell is that he has a more varied kicking game and the eye to tap and go.”

Sir Clive Woodward’s England XV:

15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 29 caps) 

14. Henry Arundell for Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 77 caps) 

Henry Arundell of England during the England World Cup Squad Announcement at Twickenham Stadium, London on Monday 7th August 2023 (Photo: George Beck/PPAUK)

13. Joe Marchant (Stade Francais, 24 caps) 

12. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 57 caps) 

11. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 63 caps)