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Springboks’ Reinach ‘in a good spot’ before World Cup semi despite death threat

South Africa's scrum-half Cobus Reinach. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/ AFP

South Africa assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said on Friday scrum-half Cobus Reinach was in a good place before this weekend’s Rugby World Cup semi-final despite receiving a death threat on social media.

After last Sunday’s 29-28 quarter-final win over France, Reinach, who plays for French club Montpellier, was sent a threatening message on Instagram by a fan of the tournament’s host country.

Reinach, 33, will start for the World Cup holders once again alongside fly-half Manie Libbok in Saturday’s last four game in Paris.

“He’s proper, I’ve seen him every day,” Stick told reporters.

“He’s in a good space and he’s got his family around him.

“We must also give credit to French rugby, the security around our hotel is just another level.

“I don’t think there is something to worry about,” he added. 

England have made three changes for the game at the Stade de France from last weekend’s 30-24 last eight victory over Fiji.

Freddie Steward comes in for Marcus Smith at full-back, Joe Marler replaces Ellis Genge at loose-head prop and 22-year-old lock George Martin stands in for Ollie Chessum.

“I don’t think there are big surprises, it’s probably what we expected,” Stick said.

“Martin has been doing very well for them, one of the tough upcoming young players,” he added.

Steve Borthwick’s England, champions in 2003, have failed to convince people of their title credentials despite being the only unbeaten side left in the competition.

Saturday’s game is a rerun of 2019’s final, which came a week after England swept the then two-time holders New Zealand aside in superb fashion in the semi-finals.

“As a team they’re getting the results they’re looking for,” Stick said.

“Against the All Blacks in Japan, that’s one of the most physical games I’ve ever seen from the English side and I would expect the same tomorrow,” he added.


Stick’s Springboks have lost just twice in 11 games this year and underlined their Webb Ellis trophy hopes with last Sunday’s tense victory over France.

“It would be disrespectful to mention them as underdogs,” South Africa hooker Bongi Mbonambi told reporters. 

“We don’t look at ourselves as favourites, it’s knock-out rugby, anything can happen,” he added.

New Zealand’s Ben O’Keffee will referee the game, six days on from officiating the Springboks’ win over Les Bleus.

O’Keeffe has been criticised since the home side were knocked out of the tournament for some aspects of the quarter-final, including his application of laws at the breakdown.

“It’s a massive challenge against South Africa, the ruck,” England assistant coach Richard Wigglesworth told reporters.

“They are among the best in the world in that area. 

“It has definitely been a focus for us this week, in terms of how we get that bit right because if you are playing against this defence off slow ball, it will swallow you up. 

“As for the referee, I’ve got full trust that he will do a great job in that area.”

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