Sir Clive Woodward has backed England to do what he did in 2003 and win the Rugby World Cup.
The Red Rose face South Africa in Yokohama on Saturday with the hope of getting their hands on the Webb Ellis trophy for a second time.
And Woodward is tipping Eddie Jones’ men to triumph, but concedes they will have to nullify the threat of South African scrum-half Faf de Klerk if they are to do so.
“Sunday’s semi-final wasn’t the most spectacular of games but my message for England would be not to under-estimate this South African team,” Woodward wrote in his column for the Mail .
“They have some very high-quality players, areas of real strength and their entire squad will be lifted and energised by the prospect of a final.
“The Boks’ set-piece will be the strongest England will have faced at this World Cup, and off the back of that everything goes through Faf de Klerk at scrum-half, who is their conductor-in-chief.
“He likes the box kick — does he ever — but we have all seen him star for Sale and he has another dimension up his sleeve.
“Watching club colleague Tom Curry mark De Klerk will be fascinating and he will be very alert to his sniping breaks which he kept under wraps on Sunday.
“The Boks also have try-scoring potential out wide. Their back three have some gas and we wait to hear if there is any chance of key man Cheslin Kolbe returning form injury for the final.”
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Woodward also said England’s power may well prove to be the decisive factor in the final.
Woodward added: “But to my eyes their big weakness is a lack of creativity in midfield. Damian de Allende is a strong runner — he battered his way through impressively for his try — but England have already shown they can cut down strong runners all day long.
“England can absorb that approach easily and turn such players over at will.
“The other huge takeaway is that England are capable of playing at a pace and tempo that could completely take the final away from South Africa.
“If they can replicate the intensity and precision that they displayed against New Zealand then I am struggling to see how South Africa can match such an approach — it’s a million miles away from their natural game.
“I would emphasise again, though, that it will be a major challenge for Eddie Jones’ team to climb that Everest again just a week after the greatest ever England performance.”