The Springboks have enjoyed mixed form over the last year and are looking to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to Wales in their first game under new coach Rassie Erasmus. They will be taking on an England team that is under considerable pressure after their aura of invincibility was convincingly shattered in the Six Nations.
Springboks v England Predictions
Head to Head Record
These two sides first met in December 1906 and have played 38 times in all since then. The Springboks lead the series by 23 to 13, with 2 draws, and they’ve also won 9 of the 13 fixtures that took place on South African soil.
England had a spell of dominance in the first few years of this century, winning 7 in a row between June 2000 and November 2006, but it has been the Springboks’ turn to dominate since then. They’ve won 11 of the last 13 fixtures, with 1 draw, although England won their last game at Twickenham back in November 2016.
Past 10 meetings:
2007: South Africa won 36-0 at Stade de France, Paris
2007: South Africa won 15-6 at Stade de France, Paris
2008: South Africa won 42-6 at Twickenham, London
2010: South Africa won 21-11 at Twickenham, London
2012: South Africa won 22-17 at Kings Park Stadium, Durban
2012: South Africa won 36-27 at Coca Cola Park, Johannesburg
2012: Match Drawn 14-14 at Nelson Mandela Stadium, Port Elizabeth
2012: South Africa won 16-15 at Twickenham, London
2014: South Africa won 31-28 at Twickenham, London
2016: England won 37-21 at Twickenham, London
The Springboks returned to action with a game against Wales in Washington last weekend, and suffered a narrow 22-20 defeat, their second successive loss to the Welsh, following the 24-22 reverse in Cardiff that ended a disappointing European Tour last autumn. That tour also saw the Springboks lose 38-3 in Dublin, but they did record two wins: a close-run 18-17 victory over an ordinary French side, and a more convincing 35-6 thrashing of Italy.
England ended 2017 strongly, winning all three of their Autumn Internationals and they kicked off the 2018 Six Nations with victories over Italy and Wales. But they were far from fluent in those two outings and their poor form caught up with them in Edinburgh, where Scotland won 25-13. Two further defeats against France and Ireland saw them finish fifth in the Six Nations and they also lost heavily to the Barbarians last month in their pre-tour warm-up game.
The Springboks fielded an experimental line up for the game against Wales in Washington and it is not clear which XV will line up in Johannesburg. Bismarck du Plessis and Frans Steyn won’t feature after their participation in the Top 14 Final last weekend, but are likely to be back for the second game of the series. Faf de Klerk will have a big role to play at scrum-half, and Siya Kolisi will captain the side for the first time on South African soil.
England have travelled to South Africa without a number of key players. Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes, Manu Tuilagi, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Danny Care and Dylan Hartley are all absent. That will put extra pressure on the experienced players like Chris Robshaw, although it is also an opportunity for the likes of hooker Jamie George to impress.
This looks like an ideal opportunity for Rassie Erasmus to pick up a significant series win early in his tenure, and build some confidence ahead of the Rugby Championship. After months of being the dominant force in northern hemisphere rugby, England have fallen to earth with a bump and are on a four-game losing streak. Without a number of key men, they look vulnerable, and rumours of discontent between players and coach are a concern.
On paper there is little to choose between the two sides at set-pieces, but the Springboks should have the edge at the breakdown, and as ever, look more fluent in the backs division. Last time England visited, they managed to scramble a draw in the final Test, and it is likely, with a number of inexperienced players in their ranks, that they will get better as the tour goes on. But they are low on confidence and England teams have traditionally struggled on South African soil, so the Springboks look good value for a 3-0 series win.
- Back South Africa to win at 4/6
- Back South Africa to win 3-0 at 3/1
Place a Rugby Bet
15 Willie le Roux, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Jesse Kriel, 23 Warrick Gelant
15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Mike Brown, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Mark Wilson, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Denny Solomona
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Betting Odds correct at time of publication.