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'Whoever wins should win the final' | O'Driscoll on All Blacks - England

Eoin Harte
Eoin Harte

19:30 23 Oct 2019


The winner of Saturday’s clash between England and New Zealand will likely win the Rugby World Cup, according to Brian O’Driscoll.

South Africa and Wales are contesting the other semi-final but the former Ireland captain can’t see past either England or the All Blacks going all the way.

“I think if New Zealand play like they have and England play like they have there’s only going to be one winner and that’s the All Blacks.

“They just played at a speed and a tempo last week that I haven’t seen for a number of years. Even a great English team will struggle against that. But it does feel as though that is potentially the final.

“Whoever does manage to come through will have a tough time dealing with the power of either of those sides in the final. It will make for great viewing on Saturday,” O’Driscoll commented.

While New Zealand were at their brilliant best against Ireland in the quarter-finals, O’Drisoll felt that Eddie Jones’ side would not afford the All Blacks the same opportunities.

“It’ll be a great semi-final. England won’t give them the platform that we gave them and they won’t make the errors that we made.

“We coughed up a couple of relatively soft tries. As soon as New Zealand go in front they’re nigh-on-impossible to catch.

“England will definitely have the fire-power upfront to be able to negate the New Zealand pack at least and maybe get in the ascendancy,” O’Driscoll said.

Wales vs South Africa

While Wales have found themselves in a semi-final they haven’t performed particularly well and will need to improve if they want to get past the Springboks.

“Their attack game hasn’t been fantastic. Their defence is what’s kept them in it. They’re incredibly resilient in fairness to them.

“When they’re not playing their best or at the peak of their powers, they still manage to grind out results. That’s the sign of a good team and a confident team,” O’Driscoll said.

South Africa haven’t been perfect either, losing to New Zealand in their first game by 10 points.

However, if they use their traditional power game there’s no reason they can’t find themselves in a third Rugby World Cup final.

“[South Africa] have to bring it down to the simplicity of their monster pack. Mauling teams to death, kick chase, kick contest and then when an opportunity arises strike on the counter-attack. That’s what they did brilliantly against Japan,” O’Driscoll said.

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