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England v South Africa: Kevin Sinfield says Ben Earl would be close to a World XV

Ben Earl made a vital break late in the game against Fiji to help seal England’s spot in the semi-final
Venue: Stade de France, Paris Dates: Saturday, 21 October Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, plus text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

England’s Ben Earl would be close to getting into a World XV based on his form at the Rugby World Cup, defence coach Kevin Sinfield has said.

Earl, 25, has played every minute in four of England’s five games, coming on as a late replacement in the pool win against minnows Chile.

“He has been a standout player across the tournament,” Sinfield said.

“If you named a World XV at this moment in time, he would be close to getting in it.

“The minutes he has played and the ground that he has covered, he has done a great job for us and that is on both sides of the ball.”

England face South Africa in their semi-final in Paris on Saturday, in a repeat of the 2019 final in Japan, which the Springboks won.

Earl played just 53 minutes across two replacement appearances during the Six Nations earlier this year. At that stage he had not started in any of his 15 Test outings, stretching across more than three years.

However, he began the warm-up victory over Wales at Twickenham in August and has been a regular ever since.

“We know he has faced some adversity previously with England; he has gone after it and deserves everything that he gets,” Sinfield added.

In the game against Fiji, with the result still in the balance, Earl broke clear from his own half to help force a penalty which stretched England’s lead.

“He has been fantastic for us and moments like that, when you need someone to pull a moment out of the hat, Ben has been that person so far in the tournament,” lock Ollie Chessum said.

“As a pack we can look to bring that powerful dynamic part to his game and that is working for us.”

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