That doesn’t exactly bother Eben Etzebeth, who stands in South Africa’s way to possible World Cup glory, he has been persuaded to give his best for the Springboks.
After all, the Webb Ellis Trophy is the pot of gold at the end of the rugby rainbow.
“In the play-offs of a World Cup tournament, it doesn’t matter so much who you play against – a victory provides so much excitement and joy. All four remaining teams have just two more hurdles to overcome before they can hold up the silverware and that serves as more than enough motivation to give your best,” said the Springbok lock.
Etzebeth played a cracking shot in the Boks’ quarter-final victory against France at the Stade de France and he was persuaded to keep the South Africans’ winning fire burning.
“The knowledge that we still have a chance to win (the tournament) is the biggest driving force. Whether we were to play against England or Fiji in the semi-final; it doesn’t make any difference to our desperation to win.”
He also believes that England will want to make up for the disappointment of the 2019 final.
Handré Pollard then scored 22 points with his kicking foot in Yokohama, while Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe scored tries in South Africa’s 32 – 12 victory.
“They will now want to play physical and aggressive rugby against us and we will not back down at all. It is the semi-final of the World Cup and the biggest prize is at stake.”
The match starts at 21:00 on Saturday and it will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
Springboks: Damian Willemse (full back), Kurt-Lee Arendse (right wing), Jesse Kriel (outside centre), Damian de Allende (inside centre), Cheslin Kolbe (left wing), Manie Libbok (fly-half), Cobus Reinach (scrum-half), Duane Vermeulen (eighth man) , Pieter-Steph du Toit (flank), Siya Kolisi (captain and flank), Franco Mostert (lock), Eben Etzebeth (lock), Frans Malherbe (prop), Bongi Mbonambi (hooker) and Steven Kitshoff (prop). Substitutes: Deon Fourie, Ox Nche, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Kwagga Smith, Faf de Klerk, Handré Pollard and Willie le Roux.
England: Freddie Steward (full back), Jonny May (right wing), Joe Marchant (outside centre), Manu Tuilagi (inside centre), Elliot Daly (left wing), Owen Farrell (fly-half), Alex Mitchell (scrum-half), Ben Earl (eighth man), Tom Curry (flank), Courtney Lawes (flank), George Martin (lock), Maro Itoje (lock), Dan Cole (prop), Jamie George (hooker) and Joe Marler (prop). Subs: Theo Dan, Ellis Genge, Kyle Sinckler, Ollie Chessum, Billy Vunipola, Danny Care, George Ford and Ollie Lawrence.
Referees: Ben O’Keeffe (referee), Andrew Brace (assistant referee), Paul Williams (assistant referee) and Brendon Pickerill (television official).