England performed brilliantly to shock New Zealand in an intense Rugby World Cup semi-final at the International Stadium in Yokohama. Coach Eddie Jones feels that his side must level-up their game if they want to lift the most coveted trophy next weekend. The Three Lions will face South Africa in the World Cup final on Saturday in Yokohama.
The last time England faced South Africa in a Rugby World Cup final was back in 2007, when the Springboks emerged victorious. Although England has looked dominant throughout this year's tournament, Jones believes that his men can not become complacent until they clinch the World Cup title.
Jones also mentioned his plan to change the team lineup ahead of the final. He suggested a potential break up of the Owen Farrell-George Ford axis once again. The England coach was already forced to change the lineup because of Willi Heinz's hamstring injury. In Heinz's place, Ben Spencer has been called up. Both Farrell and Jonny May suffered dead legs against the All Blacks in the World Cup semi-final. Therefore, more worries are slowly creeping up on Jones.
Although injury worries are currently plaguing the English camp, the Three Lions are indeed stepping into the final as the favourites. British fans are celebrating their national team's dominating victory against the defending champions. In fact, it was New Zealand's first World Cup defeat in 12 years. Having performed impressively against a dominant Kiwi side, English supporters believe that the Cup will be coming home.
The South African camp, in contrast, is equally confident. This year, they lost only one game and that was against the All Blacks during the World Cup's opening weekend. In World Cup history, no team has ever clinched the trophy after losing any of their group stage games. However, the Guardian reports that Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus is determined to turn history upside down.
Earlier this year, England won their maiden cricket World Cup after beating New Zealand in the final. Now, they have the chance to achieve double World glory. All they need is a victory in the final next Saturday. The last time a country won both the cricket and rugby World Cups was in 1999, when Australia won the title in both sports. Now, England is on the verge of repeating such a phenomenal achievement.