Despite a lost lead: England in the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup

England followed Argentina and New Zealand into the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup. The 2003 World Cup winner beat Fiji and now faces South Africa, who ended host France’s World Cup dream.

Don't be squeamish: The English playing in white and the Fijians are fighting for the playground equipment.

Don’t be squeamish: The English playing in white and the Fijians are fighting for the playground equipment.

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The English started strongly against outsiders Fiji and soon took the lead, but the islanders, who fought with self-sacrifice, showed morale and even equalized in the second half to make it 24:24. In front of Princess Catherine, patron of the English Rugby Association, the “Red Roses” squandered their commanding lead at the sold-out Stade Velodrome.

The “Flying Fijians”, who had reached a World Cup quarter-final for only the second time since 2007, remained true to their usual risky style of play against England, with which they had sensationally left the Australians behind in the preliminary round. This time, however, there was no surprise. England beat Marseille 30-24 and thus successfully took revenge for their recent defeat during preparation – it was England’s first ever against Fiji.

South Africa completes the semi-finals

Afterwards, the attention of head coach Steve Borthwick’s team, which had previously marched confidently, if hardly impressively, through the preliminary round with four wins from four games, turned to the last remaining quarter-final between France and defending champion South Africa, which took place in Saint- Denis took place. The Africans tore the hosts out of their dreams, the defending champions defeated the Equipe Tricolore led by captain Antoine Dupont, who had returned from a serious facial injury, with 29:28 (19:19) in the evening.

The game started furiously. Cyril Baille gave France an early lead (4th), Thomas Ramos increased it to 7-0, but the South Africans responded immediately: Kurt-Lee Arendse and Manie Libbok equalized (8th), before Damian de Allende (18th). turned the game around and made it 12:7. Then the French came back around playmaker Dupont, who broke his upper jaw and cheekbone in the preliminary round game against Namibia three weeks ago and therefore played with a special mask. Ultimately, the score was 19:19 going into halftime.

After that it wasn’t quite as fast: two converted penalty kicks by Thomas Ramos (41′, 54′) as well as an attempt by Eben Etzebeh (67′) and a penalty kick by Handre Pollard (69′) ensured the points. Shortly before the end it was 29:25 for South Africa, who ultimately sealed the victory because Ramos only converted another penalty kick to make it 28:29. South Africa will challenge England on October 21st.

Meanwhile, the All Blacks from New Zealand and Argentina, who had already qualified for the round of the last four on Saturday, will contest the second semi-final. The final at the Stade de France in Paris will take place on October 28th.

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