Eddie Jones has promised that England will play without fear in the upcoming clash against South Africa Rugby on Saturday 2nd November. The head coach has made no changes to his England team, whilst Rassie Erasmus has replaced S’bu Nkosi with the highly-rated, Cheslin Kolbe.
The last time these two sides met in a World Cup final was in 2007 when South Africa pipped England to the title, defeating them 15-6 in a game which was expected to be fairly one-sided. In this year’s Rugby World Cup England have caused much more of a ruckus and with Eddie Jones at the helm, victory seems to be at arm’s length.
England’s ascent to the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final
England are being dubbed the favourites to win the trophy after their incredibly dominant performance against the Rugby World Cup 2015 champions, New Zealand. England ran riot against the All Blacks in Yokohama, defeating the current title-holder’s 19-7 to seal a spot in the finals and put a stop to the possibility of a third successive win for New Zealand.
Manu Tuilagi’s name went up in lights first. The outside centre picked up the ball from Courtney Lawes before diving over to score his sides only try. On 25 minutes, England’s second efforts for a try were overruled by VMO, who penalised Tom Curry for obstructing New Zealand players during the run but England continued to push.
George Ford scored a vital penalty to set the Men in Black 10-0 down at the end of the first half and in the second half, Erasmus’s men were lucky to escape a 17-0 deficit after Ben Young’s try was denied for a knock-on – and literally only just.
The all-startled Blacks went down again when Ford scored another penalty to make it 13-0 but were later gifted an opportunity to gain a foothold in the match thanks to an England line-out error. Though their efforts weren’t enough to recover completely and their desperation for points began showing in their performance which was very unlike the reigning Champions.
New Zealand barely entered England’s 22, as the men in all white were tactical, powerful – the better of the two rugby teams. Ford scored another two penalties to make it 19-7 and fate was sealed – England were to head to the finals and New Zealand, to fight for a third-place position.
It’s no wonder Eddie Jones isn’t replacing anyone in his squad, who are fast becoming Rugby heroes for the English nation. In an interview, the England coach said that his men are giving “the country something to cheer about, and with Brexit at the moment they probably need something to cheer about”.
Who will lift the Webb Ellis Cup: England v South Africa?
England look set on emulating the 2003 Rugby World Cup final which saw them become first-time Rugby World Champions and it can be assumed that pressure is at boiling-point now that they have come this close. But the Boks won’t go down without a fight.
As it stands, England are the only Northern hemisphere nation to have won the Rugby World Cup, South Africa and Australia have won it twice and New Zealand lead with three titles.
Can Eddie’s men be the better of two sides to become two-time Rugby World Champions? We think they can.
England have climbed to the top of the Rugby World Rankings in magnificent style following their triumph against the All Blacks and place 1.5 and some points ahead of South Africa – the only men that stand in their way of a trophy.
Throughout the tournament England have displayed promising performances that have been solid in both attack and defence, with outstanding results from Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell and Mako Vunipola. They have been both tactical and sharp, creating opportunities from their near perfect line-outs and dummy runners, which has proved to be advantageous.
They will have to watch out for the Springboks back, Cheslin Kolbe and scrum-half, Faf de Klerk, who has been dubbed the mini Hercules with his ability to create a storm on the pitch. He will go up against England’s Ben Youngs and whilst they have played against each other before, the stakes are obviously much higher now.
There is no doubt that England will have made some adjustments to their strategy but aside from Ben Spencer replacing Willi Heinz due to injury, Jones has made no changes to his squad and quite rightly so. This England team has been looking like one of the strongest since 2003.
It will be no easy contest for South Africa, who have their own landmarks to reach. Should they win, not only will they join New Zealand at the top for having won the most Rugby World Cup titles but Siya Kolisi will also become the first black captain to lead a rugby team to victory – so there’s a lot on the line for the Southern hemisphere powerhouse.
Their kicking game is certain to wreak havoc for England if they enter the match unprepared. Critics have also observed that we haven’t seen much attack from Erasmus’s men but you can bet on seeing that tomorrow, as they’ll be doing everything they can to seal the win.
But England are hungry for another World Cup title and whilst there have been talks of the Springboks, Faf de Klerk being one to keep an eye on, no-one should underestimate the ability of Tom Curry and Sam Underhill, who will be looking to stop all of his efforts. The duo have been phenomenal so far in the tournament and won’t want to let themselves down now.
England forwards have also dominated in the 2019 Rugby World Championship and should they continue as they mean to go on, tomorrow could be a good day for a home nation gripped by Rugby fever.
At the moment England are down as the favourites, with 60% of punters betting on them to take the title.
Can England create new Rugby world order?
This is a question that’s been propping up a repetitively since their dominion over the All Blacks in Yokohama.
England’s last and only Rugby World Cup victory came in 2003 when they defeated Australia 20-17, thanks to a game-changing kick from Jonny Wilkinson. It was a close, edge-of-your-seat type of match, which saw England going into the tournament as the favourites. Eddie Jones was the Wallabies head coach at the time and will no doubt be looking at that loss amongst his many victories as lessons going into the 2019 Rugby World Cup Finals.
The 2003 England squad had defeated South Africa the preceding year too, hammering the Springboks 53-3 in the Autumn Internationals with seven tries and three penalties. Will this be another autumn of excellence?
In terms of England and South Africa’s recent win history, England surpass their rivals, having won three of their last five matches but South Africa lead overall with 25 wins to England’s 15. Though, games between these two tend to go down to the wire so it’s going to be a close call.
South Africa are strong, physically but England can be more witty, disciplined and are much quicker. They will be tested in the air by the Bok’s but if they control the game well and stretch the back, history could be in the making.
Japan have already staged a magnificent 2019 World Cup and it would be all the more sweeter if England bring a trophy back home. The nations behind you Eddie Jones, bring it home.