International Rugby: England v South Africa Preview

A rugby player fends off a tackle

The Springboks will be confident of claiming a third win over England this year when they two lock horns for the fourth time in 2018 on Saturday, writes Shaun Goosen.

England v South Africa
3 November 17h00
Twickenham Stadium

To Win Match (80 mins)
England 13/20
Draw 16/1
South Africa 13/10

England (-2) 9/10
South Africa (+2) 9/10 

*forecast handicaps

After a seriously underwhelming season that has seen his side claim just three wins out of a possible eight (and which included two defeats to South Africa in June), England boss Eddie Jones is feeling the heat heading into the Autumn internationals. Couple that with the fact that he is without as many as 15 key players ahead of the weekend and one starts to get a better idea of just where England currently stand.

Courtney Lawes, Mako and Billy Vunipola, Chris Robshaw, Anthony Watson and Nathan Hughes are just a handful of the players unavailable, either through injury or suspension. Jones will need to call upon every ounce of his coaching experience if he is to steer his side to a commendable performance.

Meanwhile, Bok coach Rassie Erasmus will also be without numerous names heading into the weekend. Perhaps most pertinent will be the absence of Faf de Klerk at scrumhalf, after the 27-year-old’s club Sale confirmed that he would not be available for the duration of the Bok tour.

England will doubtless look to put pressure on whichever number nine is selected, whether it be Embrose Papier or Ivan van Zyl, to force them into making mistakes. Certainly, the game management of Handre Pollard will be under the microscope as he looks to take control of the Test without his regular lieutenant at halfback.

Nevertheless, a bruising display up front should see the South Africans gain the ascendancy in the absence of front-liners such as the Vunipola's and Hughes. On his return to the side, Duane Vermeulen will be key in the tight-loose while the likes of wingers Sbu Nkosi (set to return to the starting XV after missing the Rugby Championship) and Aphiwe Dyanti will add grunt in the wider channels.

Verdict: South Africa 13/10 *forecast handicaps
Coming up against a team low on confidence and without a number of regular starters, England should succumb to the Springboks yet again to pile more pressure on Jones and his coaching staff ahead of the World Cup just about 12-months away.

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets

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