Tonight's rugby news as thousands of fans to miss World Cup semi-final and England heed Gatland's warning – Wales Online

The latest rugby headlines ahead of England v South Africa

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These are your evening rugby headlines on Saturday, October 21.
England and South Africa are set to play out their Rugby World Cup semi-final in front of thousands of empty seats at the Stade de France tonight.
Rugby World Cup organisers wanted to ensure that there would be no resale market for tickets throughout the tournament and took several secondary ticketing platforms to court over the matter earlier this year. Instead, they wanted keep a monopoly over them and ensure that any returned tickets were sold through their website at face value.
However, as the Daily Mail reports, such an approach is set to leave thousands of seats empty for the huge clash. Over two thousand tickets still on general sale for up to £300 on the eve of the game, while hundreds more premium seats costing up to £500 also remain on general sale as they were not sold in the first place.
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In contrast to France 2023, several competitions in other sports have partnered with sites like Viagogo and StubHub, which make returned tickets available to fans at discounted prices while also allowing supporters who cannot attend to recoup some costs.
"Attempts to control markets harm fans by limiting their choice, flexibility and access," Viagogo's managing director Cris Miller told the Mail. "It also risks empty seats when so many people would love to experience these huge events.
"Rugby fans who have purchased tickets to knockout games their teams will no longer feature in want the flexibility to recoup some, if not all, of their money via a safe platform, whilst giving other supporters a chance to watch their team.
"Fans want a transparent, competitive and regulated secondary market," Mr Miller added. "And that is why it is essential we provide a safe and open marketplace to help them gain access to events"
England attack coach Richard Wigglesworth has said his side are fully prepared for any schemes Springboks boss Rassie Erasmus may have up his sleeve for the semi-final clash.
Earlier this week, Wales coach Warren Gatland warned Steve Borthwick's side that they needed to be ready to face the "dark arts" that Erasmus has become famed for, with the Boks man coming under fire in the lead up to the clash in Paris for playing mind games. He was also accused of bending the rules in his side's quarter-final win over France, as three players were claimed to have been taken off for HIA assessments in order to give them a rest – something he denies.
Writing in The Telegraph, Gatland tipped the Red Roses to stun the Springboks by beating them on Saturday night, adding: "My advice to Steve Borthwick would be to make sure he gets on the front foot – and combat any dark arts."
Wigglesworth has now insisted that his side know what to expect but claims the game will not be won or lost by Erasmus' bag of tricks.
"I'm sure that, with the smarts of their coaching team, they will try to throw stuff at us, no doubt," he said. "Will that be the winning and losing of this game? Probably not.
"It will probably be the big bits of the game that decides that and then they'll give those little nuances a chance. I wouldn't like to guess what they are going to try and do because I know they will watch and hear everything we say. I wouldn't like to try and give anyone a head start."
Steve Borthwick's England side have been told they will need to 'strangle' South Africa if they are to stand a chance of reaching the World Cup final.
Ahead of the crunch semi-final, former Red Roses international Martin Corry has called on the current crop of England stars to not be scared of the task that lies before them, but instead to put pressure on the Springboks and force them into errors.
“As France showed, because of the way South Africa plays, England will get opportunities," he told Genting Casino. "They do make mistakes and it is about how quickly and ruthlessly we can capitalise on them.
“No side has really tried to strangle South Africa. If you go out and try and play rugby against them on paper, they are the better side. But if you go out to strangle them, not give them a front foot ball, have broken field situations, take the ball out of an area where they can physically dominate.
Corry added that Borthwick's men had faced "way too much stick" during the tournament so far and said he would be interested to see how the Boks would respond if England "play their way".
"Don’t give them that opportunity," he warned. "England need to play their way. The team has had way too much stick on the way they have played the games so far. They are finding their way in terms of what to do to win Test match rugby.
“If that means it’s going to be a territory-based game and for England to keep on the pressure on constantly, then they can impose themselves and say, ‘We are not going to allow you, South Africa, to play the game you want to. This is the England way and what we do'. It will be really interesting to see how they respond to that.”
By Ed Elliot, PA, Paris
New Zealand boss Ian Foster plans to enjoy a bowl of popcorn while watching England's blockbuster with South Africa after his side eased into the Rugby World Cup final by dispatching Argentina.
Foster can put his feet up for Saturday evening's colossal semi-final clash between Steve Borthwick's men and the Springboks thanks to a crushing 44-6 success over Los Pumas in Paris. The 58-year-old expects an "interesting contrast of styles" in the other last-four fixture and is not bothered who the All Blacks face in next week's showpiece match at Stade de France.
New Zealand barely broke sweat in booking an unprecedented fifth World Cup final appearance and now have the luxury of an extra day's rest as they await the identity of their ultimate opponents.
"I'll be watching it," said Foster. "I'll probably have some popcorn and sit there and watch it and I don't care who wins. We're very much in a focus-about-ourselves stage.
"One thing that extra day does give us, it gives us a bit of a chance to have a break mentally and not to spend too much juice worrying about if it's them, if it's them.
"They're both good teams. South Africa have been playing some brilliant rugby the last few weeks and are clearly on top of their game.
"But we've also seen an English side that just build away quietly and are probably starting to understand how they want to play and they're starting to get really good at how they want to play and believe in that.
"It will be an interesting contrast of styles."


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