Springbok No 10 Handre Pollard believes England’s players will still have ‘beef’ from their defeat in the 2019 World Cup final.
Pollard scored 22 points in the match in Yokohama as Eddie Jones’s game-plan was crushed by South Africa’s physicality.
Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus was first to suggest that the defeat will still be on English minds and Pollard doubled down on the claims.
‘You could see on their faces four years ago the disappointment,’ said the fly-half. ‘I have been part of a squad that has been knocked out in the semi-final of a World Cup [in 2015] and it sits with you the rest of your life. There are a lot of things you look back on and think you could have done differently.
‘I’m sure they will come with that mindset this week. I think they will be ruthless, I think they will take the intensity and physicality to a whole new level. But that being said, we are ready for that, we are prepared for that and we enjoy that. If there is going to be beef, there is going to be beef. It’s test rugby, it’s 80 minutes and we have just got to play the game.’
South Africa fly-half Handre Pollard (pictured) thinks England will want revenge for losing the 2019 World Cup final to his team
England were beaten 32-12 in the 2019 final, but Pollard is expecting England to take their game to another level this weekend in the semi-final
South Africa lifted the trophy four years ago, and are looking to move into another final
South Africa are plotting to win back-to-back World Cups for the first time in their history.
They are strong favourites to beat England in Paris on Saturday night and Pollard brushed off questions about the bronze medal match being a consolation.
‘It’s not a game you want to play,’ he said. ‘Unfortunately I have had to play in one of those before. It’s terrible. Our minds are not there at all.
‘I think our game model and the way we play the game suits World Cups pretty well. We are comfortable in this environment and we have been under pressure off the field, growing up and we all know the stories that have come from the previous World Cups.
‘We just enjoy it, we enjoy the pressure. It’s a privilege to have this pressure on our shoulders, playing for our country.’