Time to get phys­i­cal as Spring­boks lie in wait

● Goode warns Eng­land they face a for­mi­da­ble chal­lenge

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - SPORT -

Eng­land head into the World Cup fi­nal in a “phe­nom­e­nal po­si­tion” but must brace them­selves for a phys­i­cal on­slaught from the Spring­boks, ac­cord­ing to for­mer in­ter­na­tional fly-half Andy Goode.

The one-time Le­ices­ter, Sara­cens, Worces­ter and Wasps player be­lieves Ed­die Jones’s men can im­prove fur­ther on their im­pres­sive semi-fi­nal demolition of New Zealand but warns they face a com­pletely dif­fer­ent chal­lenge from South Africa to­mor­row.

“A World Cup fi­nal can do strange things,” said Goode. “Eng­land go into the game as favourites but you can’t un­der­es­ti­mate this South Africa team who pose very dif­fer­ent threats.

“They’re a big, pow­er­ful out­fit who base their game on a big set-piece; big phys­i­cal ball car­ri­ers re­ally at­tack­ing that game line and try­ing to win the phys­i­cal bat­tle, but also a strong kick­ing game.

“For us, af­ter the highs of beat­ing the All Blacks last week and the in­ten­sity we played with there, it’s about try­ing to recre­ate that and go even bet­ter.

“Eng­land are in a phe­nom­e­nal po­si­tion, there’s huge con­fi­dence in this team now and it’s be­ing put across by Ed­die, who is the most con­fi­dent man around.

“It’s great to hear him say there are things to im­prove on be­cause we’ve only won a semi-fi­nal, we’ve not lifted the tro­phy.”

Mean­while, Wales’ head coach Warren Gat­land has been praised for leav­ing “a fan­tas­tic legacy” ahead of his farewell game.

Gat­land’s 12-year reign will end in Tokyo to­day when Wales meet their World Cup bronze medal match op­po­nents New Zealand.

Both teams are on the back of men­tally crush­ing semi-fi­nal de­feats, with Wales be­ing edged out by South Africa and the All Blacks los­ing com­pre­hen­sively to Eng­land.

But it will also be the fi­nal time in their re­spec­tive jobs for Gat­land and his New Zealand op­po­site num­ber Steve Hansen.

And Wales’s de­gree of dif­fi­culty is un­der­lined by the fact they have not beaten New Zealand since 1953, los­ing 30 suc­ces­sive games.

Wales as­sis­tant coach Neil Jenkins said of Gat­land: “He is an in­cred­i­ble man. He has left a fan­tas­tic legacy in terms of re­sults and de­vel­op­ment of young play­ers.

“He is a god, a god of the game as far as I am con­cerned.”

PREPARATIO­NS: Eng­land’s Ellis Genge breaks through dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion at the Fuchu As­sahi Foot­ball Park as the team lim­bers up to face the Spring­boks

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