Wales boss Warren Gatland believes England can upset the odds and beat South Africa in the World Cup semi-final.
The Wales boss wrote in The Telegraph: “WWhisper it, but I think England can beat the Springboks… as long as they don’t allow Rassie Erasmus to control the agenda this week.
“Whisper it, but I think England can beat the Springboks… as long as they don’t allow Rassie Erasmus to control the agenda this week.”
He added: “In my experience of playing against South Africa, you’ve got to match them in the areas that they are going to target, rather than try to play too much rugby.
“If you can make it an arm wrestle, as we did against them in the semi-final four years ago, you can stay in the game long enough to put them under pressure. England made the mistake in the final four years ago of attempting to play too much, but they are a smarter team now.
“And they have got players with a lot of experience and whom I believe have got a couple of big games in them. Guys like Owen Farrell won’t be phased by playing against the Boks.
“England may not have been at their best coming through the pool stages, but I think the bigger games will bring the best out of them. And they have the physicality at the set piece and the kicking game to really challenge the Springboks.
“There seems to be an expectation that South Africa will win the game comfortably, but I think there is a big performance in England.”
30 greatest rugby players of the professional era ranked, Jonny Wilkinson 10th
30 Jason Robinson (England)
They said: “Known as Billy Whizz, this former rugby league star proved a hugely successful convert to Union. A lethal runner from full-back or wing, he was a nightmare to mark in one-on-one situations.”
29 George Smith (Australia)
28 Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
27 Sam Warburton (Wales)
26 Doug Howlett (New Zealand)
25 Stephen Larkham (Australia)
24 Gethin Jenkins (Wales)
23 Richard Hill (England)
They said: “Did all the unseen, grafting work and just got on with his job in unassuming fashion, putting his body on the line. Able to excel right across the back row, he was a pivotal figure on two Lions trips and an England World Cup winner.”
22 Schalk Burger (South Africa)
21 Lawrence Dallaglio (England)
They said: “Had it all in his prime – pace, power, aggression, pride and a steely mind-set. A Lions series winner, a World Cup winner and a trophy magnet with Wasps.”