The line-ups: all you need to know about the men who will start in the Stade de France this evening

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The Independent Online

ENGLAND

1 Andrew Sheridan (loose head, Sale)

Has finally proved himself as fearsome as his potential by wrecking Australia's scrum and flattening defenders all over.

2 Mark Regan (hooker; Bristol)

What a comeback by the veteran, who may be a flashback in stature but who just loves squaring up to the young guys. As much heart as banter.

3 Phil Vickery (tight head; capt; Wasps)

The captain who has had to be fantastic merely to keep out Matt Stevens.

4 Simon Shaw (lock; Wasps)

Missed out on three previous World Cups, but has now emerged as one of England's most impressive and uncompromising of operators.

5 Ben Kay (lock; Leicester)

Makes the line-out calls and is thus so important. Quietly effective, he has played every minute of the tournament.

6 Martin Corry (blindside; Leicester)

What you see is what you get – commitment, commitment and more commitment. Has refused to be bowed by setbacks.

7 Lewis Moody (openside; Leicester)

Has a complete disregard for his own safety, which is just what England needed. His "kamikaze" charges are a focal point of the resurgence.

8 Nick Easter (No 8; Harlequins)

Brian Ashton spotted what few others did in this late-developer, although his worth has become blessedly noticeable.

9 Andy Gomarsall (scrum-half; Harlequins)

Turning out for a pub side a year ago, suddenly he is playing champagne rugby. The main reason for England's transformation, choosing the right option consistently.

10 Jonny Wilkinson (outside-half; Newcastle)

Despite a faulty kicking radar and patchy passing game, he is still the one England look to and the one opponents fear most.

11 Mark Cueto (left wing; Sale)

In because of Josh Lewsey's injury and needs to rediscover the finishing prowess and tackling of old.

12 Mike Catt (inside centre; London Irish)

The oldest player ever to appear in a final, Catt has plenty still to offer. Is Wilkinson's safety net and was man of the match in the semi-final.

13 Mathew Tait (outside centre; Newcastle)

His tackling last week was a revelation and if he can conjure up a line break or two could be England's secret weapon. Young but experienced.

14 Paul Sackey (right wing; Wasps)

Has established himself as a class finisher but also as a quality defender. Adds enthusiasm and vigour to the backline.

15 Jason Robinson (full-back; Sale)

England's one world-class attacker who will bow out after tonight. The jinks, the hop, the explosive burst? They will all be missed by every rugby fan.

SOUTH AFRICA

1 Os du Randt (loose head, Free State)

Sole survivor of the 1995 World Cup-winning team has made a remarkable comeback as the cornerstone of Springbok pack.

2 John Smit (hooker; capt; Sharks)

Inspirational captain who leads from the front with unerring ability to find his man in the line-outs.

3 C J van der Linde (tight head; Free State)

A versatile prop who can play either side of the scrum, but who is not quite the force of the injured B J Botha. Will not buckle easily, however.

4 Bakkies Botha (lock; Bulls)

Huge presence in the line-out, helping to form the best second-row partnership in the world. Not used to taking backward steps.

5 Victor Matfield (lock; Bulls)

Towering in both stature and influence, the Super-14 winning captain is one of the Springboks' biggest danger men.

6 Schalk Burger (blindside; Western Province)

Has added craft to the graft and is now on the way to being the complete back-row forward.

7 Juan Smith (openside; Free State)

So much more than the expert scavenger, he is also one the Boks' most destructive runners with ball in hand. Must be pinned down and quickly.

8 Danie Rossouw (No 8; Bulls)

Solid is the only word to describe this immense performer who loves to take the ball forward. Has pace to go with the muscle.

9 Fourie du Preez (scrum-half; Bulls)

Many people's idea of the best player in the world, South Africa's linchpin is seemingly without a weakness.

10 Butch James (outside-half; Sharks)

Not flashy, but does everything right at the right time, especially releasing the speedsters outside. Also a fine place-kicker.

11 Bryan Habana (left wing; Bulls)

The star of the tournament so far with the instinct of a predator and the searing pace to cut his prey open. South Africa's cutting edge

12 Francois Steyn (inside centre; Sharks)

Sickeningly talented youngster with a truly terrifying boot. Prone to the odd mistake, but also to the odd 60m drop goal.

13 Jaque Fourie (outside centre; Lions)

Almost as rapid as Habana and almost as obsessed with that try line as well. Remarkable record of 20 tries in 36 Tests.

14 J P Pietersen (right wing; Sharks)

So much more dangerous than he looks, his running style is best described as loping, but often catches defences napping.

15 Percy Montgomery (full-back; Sharks)

The most experienced Springbok in history has a goalkicking record to die for and, in his opinion, flowing locks to die for as well.

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