SA, England will reach W Cup semis, says Wilkinson

2014-08-02 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Jonny Wilkinson believes that both South Africa and England will make it to the semi-finals of next year’s Rugby World Cup.

The website reports that RWC legend Wilkinson was at SuperSport on Thursday and was interviewed by Xola Ntshinga.

Wilkinson has great respect for what has been achieved by the England team under coach Stuart Lancaster.

“The England team have done a great thing in going back to the foundation of the game,” he said.

“They’ve looked at the values; they looked at the core principles of what makes a good team.

“They’ve solidified it at the base and now they’re building on it.

“They’re adding detail on top of detail on top of detail and the players are ready to accept it,” he said.

“The players are really understanding the structure of what they’re trying to do. The defence is solid and they never looked stressed and when they are they come straight back.

“In attack they’ve got great shape and great options every time they have the ball.”

“I’d really like to think they will be in a semi-final, with every chance of going all the way,” the former flyhalf added.

The Springboks will feature prominently too, according to Wilkinson.

“South Africa have a great foundation for what they are trying to do.

“They also have a great identity of who they are. That identity precedes them wherever they go.

“Their physicality, their desire, their pride and integrity puts teams on the back-foot before the whistle even goes.

“Their pace at which they are now playing too is starting to drive opposition out of their comfort zones, forcing them to make mistakes under pressure.

“It allows them to get ahead in games and allows them to push forward and win comfortably.

“When they do find themselves in difficulty, which they did against Wales recently, they then find a way of coming back.

“It’s ultimately the sign of a great team.

“I’d like to think again that South Africa will be one of those teams in the semi-finals.”

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