June Internationals: South Africa v England Preview

International Rugby: South Africa v Wales Preview

South Africa need a big defensive improvement if they are to clinch a series win over England in Bloemfontein on Saturday. The Boks trailed 24-3 after the opening quarter of last week’s Test in Johannesburg before rallying back to win. They can ill-afford another false start, reports Shaun Goosen.


South Africa v England: Second Test
16 June 17h05
Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein

To Win (80 Mins)
SA 5/10
Draw 20/1
England 15/10


Handicap
SA (-5.5) 9/10
England (+5.5) 9/10


As spectacular as the Springboks’ comeback win at Emirates Airline Park was last week, many questions have been asked of their defensive structures. England scored three tries in that first 20-odd minutes, only for a lack of discipline to allow the Boks back into the contest.

Admittedly, this Bok group hasn’t been together all that long, but the significance of installing a pragmatic defensive system cannot be underestimated. Under the guidance of defence guru Jacques Nienaber, South Africa can expect to employ much-improved displays in this department in the weeks and months ahead.

Key for Rassie Erasmus’ charges will be starting strongly. England looked fatigued at times during last week’s Test match and the Boks would do well to build an early innings to keep the tourists under pressure. Taking points on offer will go a long way to ensuring the hosts assume a commanding lead.

Eddie Jones’ men are unaccustomed to going backwards in collisions, and a dominant physical showing by Siya Kolisi and his forwards can pound the English into submission. Duane Vermuelen, in particular, was an absolute titan in the tight-loose last week and a similar display will keep the Boks on the front foot.

Handre Pollard and Faf de Klerk combined nicely last Saturday and certainly much of the Boks' success this weekend depends on their halfbacks’ ability to keep England pinned inside their own half. How well they do so may well decide the outcome of the Test series.

England will look to target the breakdown and slow the game down on Saturday. The tourists struggled to live with the speed and intensity of Faf de Klerk around the fringes, and they can gain some ascendency by winning the battle on the ground.

Saturday’s Test also marks Tendai Mtawarira’s 100th in the green and gold and his teammates will want to deliver a performance befitting a milestone of such magnitude. The “Beast” is a cornerstone of the Springbok scrum for the past decade and will become the first black African player to achieve the feat for South Africa.

The Boks certainly won’t be lacking for desire come Saturday.

Verdict: South Africa (-5.5) 9/10 
In what the English press have dubbed “Eddie Jones’ most important Test in charge of England”, I’m expecting the Boks to put in a huge physical shift to claim the Test with one still to come. In fact, I’m going one further and predicting that the win will be between nine and 14 points.

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets

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