Rugby World Cup winners Jonny Wilkinson, Lawrence Dallaglio and Bryan Habana examine Saturday’s final between England and South Africa…
Wilkinson: England must switch it up
Jonny Wilkinson is arguably the biggest legend in the history of English rugby, kicking four penalties and a drop-goal in extra time to win England their first World Cup in 2003.
He feels that Eddie Jones’ men must take a different approach to the semi-final win over New Zealand, otherwise South Africa “will know what’s coming” on Saturday.
“You need to find ways to inspire each other,” Wilkinson said. “It was a very inspiring performance against New Zealand, who looked like a different team. It wasn’t a different team.
“It was the same team, who opened up more space, and England explored it. The key thing is now finding new ground for this final.
“It doesn’t become ‘Let’s just do that again’. A lot of people think if they play like they did against New Zealand they will win… No. If they play like that again, South Africa will know what’s coming.
“England are capable [of winning the final]. This is the challenge of rugby. Week in week out you have to start again, you have to be brand new. It’s just one more game!”
‘South Africa a difficult nut to crack’
Former England flanker Lawrence Dallaglio, who also lifted the World Cup in 2003, warned fans not to expect a repeat of the win against New Zealand.
He pointed to South Africa’s impressive defensive record, with the Springboks conceding just four tries across the entire tournament; two of those against the All Blacks in their opening pool match.
“England have got to play a really tough opponent,” Dallaglio said on behalf of Land Rover, official worldwide partner of the Rugby World Cup 2019.
“Naturally, there’s a bit of excitement and everyone is now expecting England to do what they did against the All Blacks.
“You can’t expect that. It doesn’t happen like that in rugby.
“What South Africa have shown in this tournament is that they are a very difficult nut to crack.
“They have only conceded four tries; two in their first game against the All Blacks. They will be hard to beat.
“If England win the World Cup it would probably be the best World Cup win ever.
“While they might have had it easy in the pool stages, they would have had to beat Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
“If you can do beat the tri-nations and lift the trophy by the end of it, you deserve to be crowned world champions.”
‘Springboks at their best can win’
Bryan Habana won the World Cup with South Africa in 2007, with the Springboks beating England 15-6 in the final.
He heaped praise on Eddie Jones and his team, admitting that South Africa “will have to be at their absolute best” to win.
“Saturday’s semi-final, England against New Zealand; that was one of the most commanding performances I have ever seen against a New Zealand side,” Habana said on behalf of Land Rover, official worldwide partner of the Rugby World Cup 2019.
“So much so that New Zealand were nullified in almost every aspect of the game. They could only score when England made a mistake.
“It was a stark contract to yesterday [Wales vs South Africa] with two sides testing each other for the full 80.
“When there was some expansive play, we saw two really good tries. That lays up for a good final.