Maro Itoje positive England are going to be celebrating on Saturday night

Maro Itoje is confident about England's chances in the semi-final
Maro Itoje is confident about England's chances in the semi-final
©Photo Michael Steele - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

England second-row Maro Itoje expressed confidence that his side will emerge victorious in the weekend's Rugby World Cup semi-final against South Africa.

England were written off even before the start of the tournament following their dismal performances in the Six Nations competition and the warm-up matches leading into the showpiece event.

Nevertheless, Steve Borthwick's men redeemed themselves after winning all the four matches in the group stage followed by a hard-fought victory over Fiji in the quarter-final.

Despite their improved form in the competition, they will be up against the defending champions, who won the title with a 32-12 victory over England in the World Cup final in 2019 but Itoje is upbeat about his team's chances.

“That’s what I believe,” said Itoje.

“I believe there is still a huge amount of growth to come from this team and I feel we haven’t seen the best of us yet.

“I believe that if we put our best out on the field, we are going to be celebrating on Saturday night and have a positive night. We’ll go from there.”

Itoje will be up against Eben Etzebeth for the eighth time with the Saracens second row playing four times for England and three times for the British and Irish Lions. It will be one of the battle to watch out for and the 28-year-old is wary of the physicality battle.

“It’s neither here nor there for me,” Itoje said of the comparisons.

“Obviously he’s a good player, they have four very good second-rows, for me it’s about playing the type of game I want to play, playing the type of rugby that I know I can play as an individual and for the whole forward pack it’s about presenting the best of ourselves.”