Rugby World Cup 2019: Erasmus defends attritional Springboks approach

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Rassie Erasmus accepts the criticism Rugby World Cup finalists South Africa have received for their attritional style but insists such an approach has been necessary after a fall from grace.

The Springboks set up a final showdown with England in Yokohama on Saturday courtesy of a battling 19-16 win over Wales, in which Erasmus' side were disciplined and diligent but never daring.

However, their run to the final in Japan comes after a recent history that saw South Africa slide down the world rankings and Erasmus claims his current tactics are a stop-gap while he plans for something bigger.

"If one understands where we have come from – we have been number six, seven and eight in the world – we have got certain challenges and one of them was to redeem ourselves and become a power again in world rugby and try and get to number one and two," he said.

"By doing that you have to have some building blocks in place and we have followed a certain route and play according to the stats and the way the game is being refereed currently and what gives you short-term good results on the scoreboard. 

"We certainly accept that there are some things in our game that we have to improve and we take it on the chin and we will keep on improving that. But we have put ourselves in a position to maybe win the World Cup and we are in the final.

"Yes, we accept the criticism but we are also happy we are in a position to compete in a World Cup final which is ultimately where we want to be."

Erasmus' staunch belief in his approach is reflected in his desire to pick "more or less" the same starting XV for the weekend as he named against Wales, and England can expect to face the same kicking game that ultimately got the better of Warren Gatland's men.

"Our team selection won't be far off from what we've been selecting the last couple of games," he said.

"We'll pretty much go with more or less the same team. We believe that's the way we can get the best out of our team and we believe that's the longevity of playing so many games in a six-day turnaround, rotating forwards and stuff like that. 

"It's a bit of horses for courses but we believe it's our most in-fit, form, best available, best combination team so there's a bit of both.

"You can expect very much the same from us on Saturday."