Autumn Internationals 2018: England v South Africa Prediction

Jonny May

This is the big one this weekend, and I’m not as confident as I’d like to be as an England fan.

The Springboks have been much more impressive in 2018, with a series win over England and then claiming the All Blacks’ scalp in Wellington. Rassie Erasmus has them playing coherently, with incredible line speed in defence and big tacklers pressuring the opposition into mistakes; then in attack, a powerful pack that generates quick ball, Faf de Klerk recycling it quickly, and Handre Pollard and Willie Le Roux distributing it to the fast men out wide. It’s a simple game.

But, de Klerk and le Roux are unavailable this weekend, with their English clubs refusing to release them for a Test that falls outside the official 3-week window. Genius from the English rugby administration. There’s little depth at scrum-half, and a rookie full-back will no doubt be put under pressure, and I suspect the Springbok attack won’t be quite the same without those two key players.

England is not without its own problems though. A raft of injuries means there’s a raw front row and back row, and whether they can cope with the Bok power is a huge question. England’s attack has looked relatively sharp when provided with quick ball from a dominant pack going forwards, but ball-carriers are far and few between, and I can’t see where they’ll make inroads to generate front-foot ball. When England’s pack has been second best, the backs have looked totally devoid of ideas, and I can’t see how England’s forwards will gain the upper hand on Saturday.

South Africa’s pack will be monstrous, and if they win the scrum battle, win the collisions and win the breakdown, they will win the match.

It’s a classic case of head versus heart for my Superbru pick.

Head: South Africa by 3; Heart: England by 2 (is that allowed?)

What is your prediction for England v South Africa?

Don’t forget to join our pool for the Autumn Internationals on Superbru here

Follow Hutch on Twitter: @Hutch_James

14 thoughts on “Autumn Internationals 2018: England v South Africa Prediction

  1. Try as |i might, I just can’t see anything other than a win for SA. Our team just has too many new /untested combinations and rookies. SA by 15.

  2. I can’t see anything other than a SA win. They have been looking more and more confident and have a settled style of play now. England are still trying to figure out who they are. I think we will get demolished upfront and SA will take full advantage. SA by 23.

      1. Don P – Still believe we shall win but give some credit to an England team that has the guts and been determined in the past!!

        1. Assumed you were English Arthur? Anyway, England have indeed played with guts & determination in the past, but they need a bit of guile too, which, IMO, has been lacking both in the past & in the here & now.

  3. In my comment on the SA team, which is missing a few important cogs, I’ve reckoned on it being a lot tighter than those here have predicted. I’ve gone with SA, but by 5. England will need just parity in the set piece, no easy task I know, but it’s in the loose where they’ll need to really take to to SA. If they can do the latter, then they could sneak it with Farrell’s boot. They are @ home, the penalty count, as long as England don’t give away too many dumb ones under pressure, could go their way & SA are, as aforementioned, a play maker or 2 short. England really must take it to SA up front though, this is no rehearsal & they can’t afford to lose. It gets no easier next Saturday, so this is probably their season. Desperation, fortitude, resilience all required, pity they’re missing Cip & ED in the backs for some inspiration as well, but it is also what it is for England on Saturday. They could edge this one, but they could do with a couple of intercepts, hope that the opposition kicker hit the post x4 & have a following tail wind to do so. As stated though, probably SA by…5?

    1. What?’ Not a single ‘thumbs up’ Fairly incisive commentary I thought, even if I do state so myself. Got it wrong in the end, not by too much, but my premonition that Farrell’s boot could sneak it was on the mark. Just like the aforementioned’s tackle.

  4. Anywhere else and you’d have to say SA comfortably.
    But its at Twickenham and home advantage is considerable.
    A lot has to go right for England to win. The set piece has to function, rookie players must step up, untried combinations have to come together and we have to handle the Boks physicality.
    Even without key men deKlerk and LeRoux, SA will be match fit and should just come out on top.

  5. I think the Boks will edge this unfortunately. Just think England are missing too many big players up front. SA by 6 points, 20-26.

  6. If England give their backs space and ball, could put SA’ backs under pressure. However, that if is based on who wins the competition of the packs, which on paper the Boks look much stronger. My eyes are on Itoje – as essentially the 2nd most experienced pack member (ignoring that Kruis has a few more caps, but had fewer recent international call ups), for me he needs to demonstrate his leadership qualities against this Boks pack via big hits and the extra graft that’ll be required.


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