Rugby World Cup 2019: Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus expecting tough grind in final against England

South Africa head into the Rugby World Cup final against England next Saturday fully expecting another war of attrition rather than an open game, according to coach Rassie Erasmus.

The Springboks advanced to their third final with a taut 19-16 victory over Wales in Yokohama on Sunday, which was ultimately decided by first-five Handre Pollard's boot with a conversion and four penalties - the last coming with four minutes remaining.

"We have given ourselves a chance. We have played England four times in the last 18 months... and we are accustomed to how they play," Erasmus said.

"They're a lot better than the last time we played them, especially with the way they dismantled New Zealand.

"We think we are in with a chance. I'm not 100 percent sure the Rugby World Cup final will be won by an expansive game plan with wonderful tries.

Rugby World Cup 2019: Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus expecting tough grind in final against England

"It might be, I might be wrong. I think we will go and grind it out."

After England beat New Zealand 19-7 in a high-tempo, physically combative semi-final on Saturday, the 67,750 fans at Yokohama Stadium on Sunday watched a defensive slugfest.

Erasmus said the nature of Wales' game had meant they needed to adapt their own to counteract their opponents' strengths and then try to wrestle their way to victory.

"We know they are a team that strangle the life out of the opposition ... so we expected that and had to match it," Erasmus said.

"It might not have been a great spectacle to watch but... the boys stuck to their guns and adapted to that."

While the Springboks have an expansive side to their game, in the knockout phase they have relied on their massive pack to wear down the opposition.

When in possession, halfback Faf de Klerk invariably put up a contestable kick while on the rare occasion the ball made it past him, Pollard and fullback Willie le Roux kicked deep or inside centre Damian de Allende smashed into contact.

South Africa's 'death by 1000 kicks' approach may not have won over many neutrals in the crowd, but it was effective at putting pressure on Wales and allowing them to get downfield and win penalties.

It also was a safe and ruthless way to ensure that they reached the final, Wales coach Warren Gatland conceded.

"For them, it was about making the final and doing what they needed to do," he said.

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

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The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Join us at 10pm Saturday for live updates of the Rugby World Cup final between South Africa and England 

Reuters 

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