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Rugby World Cup 2023 LIVE: England v South Africa score and result from semi-final tonight

South Africa train on eve of RWC semi-final against England

England suffers defeat in the most agonising circumstances as world champions South Africa emerged victorious at the Stade de France to set up a colossal Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand. Steve Borthwick’s men performed admirably and executed a sublime game plan, backing up their quarter-final victory over Fiji behind the magnificent kicking of Owen Farrell.

But the Springboks showed their resilience and rallied late in the second half, also relying on kicking, with Handre Pollard, on after half an hour following a ruthless move to hook the struggling Manie Libbok, shining and subsequently hitting the match-winning penalty. But South Africa scored the only try of the match, with RG Snyman bundling over with 12 minutes remaining, cutting the deficit to just two points and allowing Pollard to snatch victory and ensure a mouthwatering encounter with the All Blacks.

Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi admitted the contest was a tough watch at times: “It was ugly today, really ugly, but that’s what champions are made of. England, credit to them, they were written off. They showed who they are. All credit to them, my team, it was ugly, but we found a way to fight and get back into the game. I’m really proud of them, especially the guys who came off the bench.

“England did so well in the kicking game, they outplayed us in that, our discipline was awful. But we showed who we are and what we can do. The All Blacks are playing really well, but we want to thank the South Africans who stuck with us and travelled over, next week will be tough, it’ll be special, hopefully we can defend it.” Follow all the reaction and analysis from a pulsating semi-final below.


South Africa captain Siya Kolisi proud of ‘ugly’ win

“All the hard work that we’ve put in, it came off. It was ugly today, but that’s what champions are made of. Credit to England, coach Steve [Borthwick] got them ready and they showed who they are. My team, I’m really proud of the boys. England did so well in the kicking game, they outplayed us in that. Our discipline was awful in the first half, but we fought back in the second half and we showed what we can do.”

On the All Blacks, he adds: “The final? It’s going to be as big as it was tonight.”

Lawrence Ostlere21 October 2023 22:07


Full-time: England 15-16 South Africa

It is hard to say if the bold substitution of Handre Pollard for a wayward Manie Libbok after only half an hour was decisive. Certainly, Pollard was hugely influential in the final minutes, with a long kick to the corner and with that nailed penalty at the death. Then again, he would have surely come on to the pitch at some point in the second half anyway.

Lots of the talk this week will be about which fly-half starts the final.

Lawrence Ostlere21 October 2023 22:03


Full-time: England 15-16 South Africa

Jonny Wilkinson: “England, they did manage it absolutely brilliantly. The guys making the kicks, the guys chasing the kicks, they got almost everything right. But fair play to South Africa, they knew what to do.”

Lawrence Ostlere21 October 2023 21:59


Full-time: England 15-16 South Africa

South Africa will play New Zealand in the World Cup final next Saturday. England will have to go on to a third-place playoff against Argentina, having led this semi-final for 75 minutes.

Lawrence Ostlere21 October 2023 21:57


Full-time: England 15-16 South Africa

80 min: A knock-on in the tackle, and South Africa have won! Oh England.

The players break into a petty scrap, grabbing each other’s shirts.

Lawrence Ostlere21 October 2023 21:55


England 15-16 South Africa

79 min: This is it, England have the ball and they are searching for one final score inside the South African half…

Lawrence Ostlere21 October 2023 21:53


Penalty! England 15-16 South Africa (Pollard)

77 min: Handre Pollard opts to kick for the posts, and it’s a picture of perfection, whistling through the middle of the sticks.

For the first time all night, South Africa lead.

Lawrence Ostlere21 October 2023 21:51


England 15-13 South Africa

75 min: This scrum is so vital. South Africa are desperate to earn a penalty here but England are not falling into the trap, yet. Another reset, however… and this time Ben O’Keeffe blows his whistle! Genge is penalised for dropping to his knee: Springbok penalty just inside halfway.

Lawrence Ostlere21 October 2023 21:50


England 15-13 South Africa

74 min: England survive the scrum with conceding a penalty, but Steward makes a big error a moment later when he slices a kick straight up in the air and then knocks on his attempted catch. Scrum to South Africa just inside England’s half.

Every play is so tense now.

Lawrence Ostlere21 October 2023 21:48


England 15-13 South Africa

71 min: Willie Le Roux marks Farrell’s high kick and South Africa opt for a scrum on their own 22 to keep the pressure on England’s creaking pack, and Sinckler in particular.

Lawrence Ostlere21 October 2023 21:46


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