As preparations commenced for the Rugby World Cup semi-final against South Africa this Saturday, Marcus Smith was one of several players subjected to adjusted training routines. Nevertheless, England remains optimistic about his fitness and potential participation.
“Marcus is good. He’s one of those who have been modified today so we’ll get a clearer read in the week, but fingers crossed he will be good to go,” Sinfield said.
As the highly anticipated rematch of the 2019 World Cup final approaches, Sinfield maintains a deep respect for South Africa. However, he emphasizes the importance of England harnessing their own strengths and qualities.
“They are a top team. We saw their quarter-final against France and were in awe of the physicality they brought,” Sinfield said.
“We have the utmost respect for them. We think they are a nation that play the best rugby. They know what they are about and they don’t shy away from it.
“We’re coming up against a team with probably the best defence in the world. They’ve been together a long time and they’re really well drilled. It’s an aggressive defence.
“They are a running threat, they’re a kick threat, they have an incredible set-piece, they have an unbelievable defence – do you want me to keep going?
“It’s important for us to get the balance right this week, understanding what South Africa do and how they play, but also some of our strengths as well.
“I think it would be quite easy for us to be completely blown away by how good they are.”
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Five players who underperformed in the World Cup quarter-finals
We take a look at five players who failed to perform in the quarter-finals of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
#1. Andrew Porter (Ireland)
Irish Independent 5/10: “Pinged twice in the opening minutes, once at the breakdown and once in the scrum. Indeed, he drew the whistle from Wayne Barnes in two of the game’s first three scrums. Running dialogue with the ref but seemed frustrated throughout.”
Planet Rugby 3/10: “His illegalities at the scrum finally caught up with him as Wayne Barnes continually penalised Porter for not driving straight. However, it was his needless infringement in the opening minute which set the tone.”
RUCK 5/10: “Penalised in an early scrum, as his hips were too wide in the pack. A big hit on Will Jordan on the 20th phase, as Ireland defended strong. Couldn’t support Doris in time for his carry, as the number eight was isolated, and Porter couldn’t stop Savea’s turnover. Penalised twice more in the scrum for the same offence, in a performance he would want to forget in the pack. “