Rugby

Warren Gatland Questions If England Have Already Played Their Final

Warren Gatland Questions If England Have Already Played Their Final

Wales are out of the World Cup, but it could have been a very different story. After a highly attritional game against South Africa, Warren Gatland's side had the momentum in the final ten minutes.

They were unable to capitalise on it however, with South Africa forcing a turnover in their own half before marching down the pitch to kick the game winning penalty. It was an opportunity missed for the Welsh, with Warren Gatland unable to secure a fairytale ending to his time with the nation.

South Africa will now face England in the final. Eddie Jones' side will be heavy favourites after their spectacular win over the All Blacks, but will they be able to repeat that level of performance?

Gatland isn't so sure. Speaking after the game, questioned if England had already played their final against New Zealand:

We have seen in previous World Cups that teams sometimes play their final in semi-finals and don't always turn up for a final.

So it will be interesting to see how England are next week and it could be a good game.

We have another game to play against the All Blacks. The dream was that my first game was in charge of Wales was against England and so the last would be against them as well, but it was not to be.

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England will certainly be favourites, but South Africa will fancy their chances. They have the size to cause problems, although you would imagine they would have to be more expansive in their play to stretch the English defence.

That is an opinion shared by Gatland:

South Africa have the physicality to match England. I thought England were outstanding, but South Africa have a very good chance.

They might have to be a bit more expansive in the way they want to play. They had a pretty simple game plan against us in terms of the scrums and box kicking from Faf De Klerk and Pollard.

 It was very effective and for them it was about making the final and doing whatever it took to do that. It was a tough encounter. We knew it was going to be an arm wrestle and we stayed in that arm wrestle.

I thought there was a momentum shift until the last four or five minutes and we started to get going, but unfortunately we were penalised and the game got away from us.

I am not taking away from South Africa and I thought they played really well.

SEE ALSO: Wales Template Can Help Ireland Break Through Their Glass Ceiling

Gary Connaughton

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