Four years ago, Rassie Erasmus and the Springboks waved the scepter against England when they won the World Cup final 32 – 12 in Yokohama.
Push the accelerator button a little and the two teams are once again at odds in an important play-off game; this time in the semi-final of the latest rugby spectacle in France.
And Erasmus believes that the Rose will be anything but cannon fodder at the Stade de France.
“It promises to be a tough test against a team that has not yet lost a game in the tournament and that has scored just as many points as we have in their games,” said SA Rugby’s director of rugby.
According to the official World Cup statistics, South Africa and England boast 180 points on the official scoreboard; however, the Boks scored seven more tries (26 against 19) than the pale legs.
Erasmus warns that the Goats cannot afford to listen to outsiders who proclaim that England is a weak rugby team.
“You can see how close the game should be if you look at the statistics – yet I know that statistics don’t always give the full picture. At the same time, Steve Borthwick is an excellent coach as he showed in his time at Leicester Tigers.”
He also knows that England should be very fit. Aled Walters, South Africa’s conditioning specialist during the previous World Cup tournament, is now in the England camp.
“So we are going to prepare hard for the game.”
However, don’t be surprised if Erasmus picks another rabbit out of the hat for the England game.
The 50-year-old former loose forward likes to win tests and he will throw everything into the battle to ensure that South Africa plays in a World Cup final again.
The semi-final starts at 21:00 on Saturday and the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
Results of last ten matches between South Africa and England:
South Africa 16 – 15 England at Twickenham
South Africa 31 – 28 England at Twickenham
England 37 – 21 South Africa at Twickenham
South Africa 42 – 39 England at Ellis Park
South Africa 23 – 12 England at the Free State Stadium
England 25 – 10 South Africa at Newlands
England 12 – 11 South Africa at Twickenham
South Africa 32 – 12 England at the International Stadium in Yokohama