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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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Do England have ammo for another upset?

By unknown | Oct 12, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

Sheer guts and the individual brilliance of Jonny Wilkinson sees England line up against hosts France in the first semifinal of the sixth Rugby World Cup tomorrow in St Denis.

Dead and buried a few weeks ago - following their 36-0 drubbing by South Africa - England have somehow found the strength and character to once again mount a challenge at this tournament.

Taking on an unpredictable France in their own back yard is never an easy task - just ask the All Blacks - and tomorrow will be no different.

Upsetting Australia last weekend 12-10, England will have taken enormous confidence out of the win but whether it is enough remains to be seen. For coach Brian Ashton it's definitely a case of "from zero to hero".

"One thing we must be is eternally vigilant. You can't take your eyes off them [France] in defence or attack," said Ashton earlier in the week.

France go into the match with an unchanged 22 following their shock win over the All Blacks. Down 13-3 at halftime, the French somehow managed to dig deep and produce a result that turned this World Cup on its head.

French coach Bernard Laporte also has the luxury of fielding an unchanged side, despite the concussion suffered by flank Serge Betsen last weekend.

The dynamic Betsen suffered "mild concussion" according to doctors and will link up with fellow loose forwards Thierry Dusautoir and Julian Bonnaire to form a trio bent on causing havoc among the England team.

England will be relying heavily on the boot of Wilkinson and the brute strength of locking pair Ben Kay and Simon Shaw to rattle the French. If they have the ammunition to shoot down the high-flying French we'll find out tomorrow.


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