Kevin Sinfield wants England to overcome South Africa's aggressive defence

Kevin Sinfield believes England can overcome South Africa in the semi-final
Kevin Sinfield believes England can overcome South Africa in the semi-final

England defence coach Kevin Sinfield wants his side to come up with an improved performance when they face South Africa in the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup.

South Africa have a better head to head record against England having won 27 out of the 45 matches between them including a victorious 2019 Rugby World Cup final where they thumped them 32-12.

Heaping praises on South Africa's success over the years, Sinfield wants England to overhaul their defence and physicality if they are to reach the final for the second successive time.

“If we want to get near South Africa at the weekend that success rate needs to be massively increased, I would suggest,” said Sinfield.

“The last two weeks we’ve played teams that want to throw the ball about, we knew Fiji would have a purple patch where they caused us problems.

“I think we’re coming up against a team with probably the best defence in the world at the minute, in South Africa. They’ve been together a long time, they are really well drilled.

“It’s an aggressive defence, and we look forward to coming up against them at the weekend.

“I think they’ve added to their game, I think when you look at their line-up and some of the stars, I’ve been fortunate to work with a couple of them at Leicester.

“But you look across that backline and they can hurt you in a whole lot of different ways. We know what we’re up against this week, but we’re really excited by the challenge."

England had injury concerns over Marcus Smith, who took a knock in the quarter-final win over Fiji. The Harlequins fly-half did not attend the full training session on Tuesday and Sinfield said a call on his inclusion in the weekend's game will be taken in due course.

"Marcus is good. He's one of those who have been modified [on Tuesday] so we'll get a clearer read in the week, but fingers crossed he will be good to go," Sinfield said.