Eddie Jones’s side face the Springboks for the first time since the 2019 Rugby World Cup final
England v South Africa Preview – Autumn Internationals
It’s the one we’ve been waiting more than two years for – the rematch of the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.
At Twickenham on Saturday afternoon, England will face South Africa for the first time since Siya Kolisi lifted the trophy in Japan.
The Springboks have continued their good form since that triumph, with a series win over the British & Irish Lions, a victory over New Zealand and a so far unbeaten northern hemisphere tour.
Although England won the 2020 Six Nations and Autumn Nations Cup, their form hasn’t reached the heights of the World Cup semi-final win over New Zealand.
They come into this match on the back of wins against Tonga and Australia, but are without two key figures. Captain Owen Farrell and hooker Jamie George have both been ruled out by injury, while Joe Marler is starting on the bench after isolating due to Covid, so the Boks will no doubt be looking to target the inexperienced Jamie Blamire and Bevan Rodd up front.
In the background, of course, is the news of Rassie Erasmus’s ban.
You’ll find our England v South Africa preview below.
What’s the big England v South Africa team news?
Eddie Jones has made two changes to the starting XV that defeated Australia last Saturday.
At hooker Jamie Blamire, who became the first England men’s forward to score in four consecutive matches last weekend, comes in for the injured Jamie George. And Nic Dolly could win his first cap as a replacement.
As Owen Farrell has had to withdraw with an ankle injury, Manu Tuilagi switches back to centre with Joe Marchant coming in on the wing while Courtney Lawes will captain England.
South Africa have made three changes to the team that defeated Scotland last Saturday. Handré Pollard and Cobus Reinach come in at half-back while Lood de Jager will start in the second row.
Willie le Roux retains the full-back shirt with Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende forming the centre partnership for the 19th time.
In the forwards, captain Siya Kolisi will start at flanker with Duane Vermeulen at No 8. The Springboks have an experienced bench as well as with Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert and Frans Steyn among the replacements.
What have the coaches said?
England head coach Eddie Jones: “This is our biggest game of the season and the final game of the autumn campaign and we want to finish with a bang. We’ve been really pleased with the preparation this week and how the team has continued to develop over the past month.
“Now we want to put on our best performance this autumn in front of a capacity 82,000 crowd at Twickenham.”
South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber: “England have made it clear that they’ll come hard at us in this match, and with a few British & Irish Lions players in their midst, home ground advantage and a new record of eight wins in a row against Australia adding to their motivation this weekend, so we know it will be a hard grind.
“That said, we will enter the match equally motivated, especially with the opportunity to retain our status as the top team in the world for a third successive season.”
What time does it kick-off and is England v South Africa on TV?
The match will kick-off at 3.15pm on Saturday 20 November at Twickenham Stadium.
Andrew Brace is he referee for this one, with Angus Gardner and Frank Murphy his assistants. Brian MacNeice is the TMO.
The fixture will be live on Amazon Prime Video.
Related: Autumn Nations Series TV coverage
What are the line-ups?
England: Freddie Steward; Joe Marchant, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, Jonny May; Marcus Smith, Ben Youngs; Bevan Rodd, Jamie Blamire, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Jonny Hill, Courtney Lawes (captain), Sam Underhill, Tom Curry.
Replacements: Nic Dolly, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewels, Sam Simmonds, Alex Dombrandt, Raffi Quirke, Max Malins.
South Africa: Willie le Roux; Jesse Kriel, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handré Pollard, Cobus Reinach; Ox Nché, Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Siya Kolisi (captain), Kwagga Smith, Duane Vermeulen.
Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Jasper Wiese, Herschel Jantjies, Elton Jantjies, Frans Steyn.
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