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The Springboks are Rugby World Cup Champions for the third time after breaking through for two tries inside the final 20 minutes to seal victory in what had to that point been an intense, gritty battle.
South Africa and England will go head-to-head in the Rugby World Cup Final with one team 80 minutes away from writing their names in the history books.
Previous form means little and both sides are capable of claiming a famous victory. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of what promises to be a thrilling match starting from 8pm AEDT on Saturday.
England have played fantastic rugby against both the Wallabies and All Blacks the past couple of weeks, but some wonder whether they’ve played their best game already.
Can they repeat their form from the semis when they go up against the brutal Springboks?
Eddie Jones has been able to name an unchanged starting lineup with players like Jonny May and Owen Farrell passing fitness tests.
The only change is on the bench where the injured Willi Heinz has been replaced by Ben Spencer who flew over to join the squad this week. While he might be on the bench, he could well have a key role in the final.
England played with great attacking intent and defensive intensity against the All Blacks and Wallabies and Jones has said they plan to do the same again against the Bok:
“We know South Africa are going to come at us, and we’re going to come at them even harder.”
Key again to the game plan will be the English back row. Sam Underhill and Tom Curry might have an average age of 22, but they have been dominating far more experienced opponents throughout the tournament.
The battle between them and Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi is going to be incredible to watch.
The Springboks have a settled look to their line up with one exciting addition in the form of Cheslin Kolbe. The small winger brings more than just pace and his aerial ability could well provide a key part of the South African kicking game.
In the semi-final against Wales, the Springboks (and especially Faf de Klerk) kicked a lot and if they can kick well then Kolbe could cause England some real trouble.
If South Africa can overturn the favourites, they will become the first team to become World Champions despite having lost a group stage match.
There’s been discussion about what game plan the Boks are going to use to try and achieve this. Many are expecting a direct power and kicking game and considering their pack and set piece this wouldn’t surprise anyone.
England are likely to start fast like they did against the All Blacks. If they can get an early lead then they could well be tough to chase down.
However, England must not assume that they can use their semi-final game plan without adjusting for the South African style.
The Boks big runners will be targeting George Ford and Owen Farrell and if they can’t withstand that storm then England might not be able to find the rhythm and momentum that helped them reach the Final in the first place.
Discipline is going to be key. Handré Pollard’s boot is reliable and a few kickable penalties in the first half could create a solid platform for the Springboks.
Equally if the Springboks lose their call and can’t find a way to get on top of England then they too could find themselves on the wrong side of Farrell’s accuracy off the tee.
This game is going to be tight. There’s no bigger occasion in rugby than this and both sides will feel the pressure.
The fairy tale would see Siya Kolisi pick up his 50th cap and raise the trophy for South Africa, but while Faf de Klerk might have the hair of a Disney Prince, this isn’t a fairy tale.
England to win by 5 points.
Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of what promises to be a thrilling match starting from 8pm AEDT AEST on Saturday.
Where: Yokohama International Stadium, Yokohama
Date: Saturday November 2
Kick-off: 8pm AEDT
TV: Fox Sports
Betting: South Africa $2.72, England $1.46
15 Willie le Roux
14 Cheslin Kolbe
13 Lukhanyo Am
12 Damian de Allende
11 Makazole Mapimpi
10 Handré Pollard
9 Francois de Klerk
8 Duane Vermeulen
7 Pieter-Steph du Toit
6 Siya Kolisi (c)
5 Lood de Jager
4 Eben Etzebeth
3 Frans Malherbe
2 Mbongeni Mbonambi
1 Tendai Mtawarira
16 Malcolm Marx
17 Steven Kitshoff
18 Vincent Koch
19 RG Snyman
20 Franco Mostert
21 Francois Louw
22 Herschel Jantjies
23 Frans Steyn
15 Elliot Daly
14 Anthony Watson
13 Manu Tuilagi
12 Owen Farrell (c)
11 Jonny May
10 George Ford
9 Ben Youngs
8 Billy Vunipola
7 Sam Underhill
6 Tom Curry
5 Courtney Lawes
4 Maro Itoje
3 Kyle Sinckler
2 Jamie George
1 Mako Vunipola
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie
17 Joe Marler
18 Dan Cole
19 George Kruis
20 Mark Wilson
21 Ben Spencer
22 Henry Slade
23 Jonathan Joseph
Referee: Jerome Garces
Assistant referees: Romain Poite, Ben O’Keeffe
TMO: Ben Skeen
2019 World Cup Form
South Africa WWWWW