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Rugby World Cup: New Zealand and South Africa set for semi-final clash of titans

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By Euronews
Rugby World Cup: New Zealand and South Africa set for semi-final clash of titans

The Rugby World Cup resumes with the highly-anticipated semi-finals this weekend.

On Saturday defending champions New Zealand take on South Africa in a clash of the titans at Twickenham.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has made one enforced change from the team that hammered the French in the quarters with Joe Moody replacing injured prop Wyatt Crockett.

The Kiwis are hunting a record 13th consecutive World Cup match win and a second consecutive final appearance; they are aiming to become the first country to win back-to-back titles.

New Zealand are playing in their seventh World Cup semi-final, the only side to accomplish this from the eight editions.

Richie McCaw will become the first man to captain a national side for 12 matches in the World Cup, while powerhouse Julian Savea is chasing the try-scoring record for a single tournament. He is currently on eight this year, level with the previous mark set by All Black legend Jonah Lomu in 1999 and Habana in 2007.

Like New Zealand, South Africa are bidding for a record third World Cup title this edition.

The Springboks are unchanged from the last eight victory over Wales as lock Lood de Jager and hooker Bismarck du Plessis have recovered from injuries sustained in that match.

Bryan Habana meanwhile will look to break Lomu’s record World Cup career try scoring tally having drawn level on 15 in the pool stage.

South Africa are – along with Australia – one of only two sides to enjoy a winning World Cup record against New Zealand.

Meanwhile the impressive David Pocock and Israel Folau have recovered from calf and ankle injuries respectively as two-time champions Australia take on Argentina on Sunday at Twickenham in a game that completes the all southern hemisphere semis.

Argentina, who have Marcelo Bosch back after a one week ban, are the only side out of the four semi-finalists not to have lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy.