Rugby World Cup Final 2019: England Team To Play South Africa

Eddie Jones

England men’s head coach Eddie Jones has named his team to play South Africa in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final at Yokohama Stadium on Saturday 2 November (KO 6pm Japan, 9am UK, live on ITV).

Captain Owen Farrell will lead an unchanged starting XV that beat New Zealand in the semi-final last weekend. The starters have a total of 731 caps between them.

Ben Spencer is named as a finisher and is in line to play his first game in the Rugby World Cup having replaced injured Willi Heinz earlier this week.

Jones said: “It has been a good week, the players have been together a while now so it’s less about the volume of training this week, it’s more about sharpening the sword.

“South Africa are a difficult opponent and we are going to have to fight really hard to win. We know the physical part of the game is going to be important and the players will go into this game well prepared knowing how we want to play. We will go and play with no fear.

“South Africa will probably play a similar type of game they have played all tournament so we need be good in the arm wrestle and when we have the opportunities to break the game up, we are then confident and composed enough to take them.”

England have remained unbeaten during the tournament having won their pool matches against Tonga (35-3), USA Rugby (45-7) and Argentina (39-10) before the France game was cancelled due to typhoon Hagibis.

England beat Australia 44-16 in the quarterfinal in Oita before defeating New Zealand 19-7 in Yokohama last weekend to progress to the final.

This is the fourth time England have reached the Rugby World Cup Final. They have beaten South Africa in their last two Test matches.

Jones will be in charge of England for the 50th time this weekend and is only the third England coach to reach this milestone. He has the best win rate (80%) of any head coach of England.

England starting XV
15 Elliot Daly (Saracens, 38 caps)
14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 41 caps)
13 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 39 caps)
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 78 caps) C
11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 51 caps)
10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 64 caps)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 94 caps)
1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 57 caps)
2 Jamie George (Saracens, 44 caps)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 30 caps)
4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 33 caps)
5 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 80 caps)
6 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 18 caps)
7 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 14 caps)
8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 50 caps)

Finishers
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 20 caps)
17 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 67 caps)
18 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 94 caps)
19 George Kruis (Saracens, 40 caps)
20 Mark Wilson (Sale Sharks/ Newcastle Falcons 17 caps)
21 Ben Spencer (Saracens, 3 caps)
22 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 26 caps)
23 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 46 caps)

20 thoughts on “Rugby World Cup Final 2019: England Team To Play South Africa

  1. Injuries permitting, it was never likely to change after that performance last week. I think the bench are actually more suited to this game than last week. Here’s hoping!!

  2. Makes sense to keep with the same team, as their confidence will be through the roof. Spencer will bring some speed of thought and sniping to the breakdown and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him nick a try at the death. Anyone not sure about his big game credentials should remember that he has played in the last two European and Premiership finals.

    The only thing that worries me about the bench is the lack of an out and out full back/wing. Slade didn’t look too confident at full back last week when he came on and I would much rather have seen Big Joe on the bench.

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    1. On a cautionary note, if Eng’s confidence is through the roof, will their heads be in the clouds? If they think that they only have to turn up, could they crash & burn like Icarus? Gatland’s questioned whether they played their final v NZ.

      1. I don’t think so Don. Although their confidence will be high, they will know what needs to be done on the day. Keep calm, play to the whistle and tackle low!! This team will not want to go out as losing finalists. It will be tight, but I didn’t see anything against an unconvincing Wales performance last week which troubles me.

        1. Yes, tackle low! My biggest concern is someone getting sent off for a high tackle. England have been squeeky clean so far, so hopefully that continues.

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  3. Same. Even potential minor fly in the ointment, lack of wing or f/back cover, the same. Likely Kolbe apart, expect SA to be the same too. So, same old, same old then. Wonder if the teams will play the same (as last time) as well? OIOW, more of the same? Think Eng will, although may play with more caution, kick more, be more pragmatic maybe. SA prob duplicate prev game up front, but also deploy bombs & likely run it wide some too? IMO Saffas’ll need to score pts 1st & fast! And keep on accumulating same.

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  4. Would have gone for Nowell over Slade who doesn’t seem to be in any sort of form but then what do i know. Gleefully Eddie has proven me wrong every time and must have seen something in training

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    1. Nowell makes more sense, covering both posi’s. Maybe he’s not match fit? Just because Eng have won so far, it doesn’t nec prove that your preferences have been wrong. Might have done even better following advice on yr choices.

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      1. I worry about Jack’s fitness. He’s been struggling with injury and illness so (as a Chiefs fan) i’m happy for him to be getting lots of rest. I do agree that he looks a more natural replacement on that bench than Sladey.

    2. Maybe. I’d have had him on the bench. No surprises here though. This will be a very different game to the semi though. I think there will be more kicking.

    3. Nowell is injured, I think. I think Slade is there as dual playmaker cover. Not sure where Joseph fits in, tbh, other than he seems to be in top form!

      He’s a great defender. I assume if one of the back 3 goes off then Joseph goes to the wing and Watson or Daly at FB.

      Obviously Big Joe isn’t trusted by Eddie, but I did think he’s a remarkable talent and I’d love to have seen him on the bench.

      1. Eddie Jones is a shrewd manager. He will have pressed the reset button as soon as training sessions started. The Bokke are an entirely different team to the AB’s. For me they have the best defence in the world cup as I claimed before. They are a very smart team too. They have the win smarts of Wales but carry little to no injuries and have some real game changers in De Allendale, De Klerk , Mapimpi , Pollard and Kolbe. This one really is “on the day” for me. I fancy SA as they will feel they need to pick it up after Wales which is a game they could have easily lost. England may have peaked and didn’t celebrate much after beating the AB’s whereas I feel they should have relished that moment. I think the Saffas will edge it.

        I just think England should have enjoyed that moment beating the AB’s and pressed the reset button. The Bokke are an entirely different beast and the Afrikkaners in that team will be insanely mad to win against the English.

  5. I worry about our lack of lineout options. SA have got four blokes all taller than our lot and du Toit at O/Side. That is a hell of a height advantage.
    George and Itoje will have to be telepathic. Maybe Kruis should have come in to keep the Sarries connection?
    Jack Nowell, much as I love him, has been a passenger. Eddie must have known quite early on that he wasn’t going to make any significant contribution to this comp so why wasn’t he sent back to Devon for recuperation? We could have had an extra t/head or s/half instead.
    God, I’m nervous!

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    1. How did NZs height advantage workout last week? I’m not suggesting it’ll be the same result, but I also wouldn’t worry about a lack of options when a lineout with Itoje, Lawes and Curry worked well last time out.
      On Nowell, I think we were all hoping he would recover and be able to have some impact on the WC. But we don’t know the extent of that impact in camp and off the field.

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  6. Think the die was cast last week. If I was Bok I’d be less concerned if Slade started. Doesn’t mean Eng won’t kick, it just means it’s less certain where the kick will come from and possibly more potential to exploit the attempted charge down.
    The obvious is to move the big SA heffers around the park as much as possible. The gamble for SA is how many to commit to the breakdown. Not enough and route 1 becomes an area for kitchen Sinks and George to exploit. Nothing new obviously.
    And if there’s one coach who knows how to get the better of the Boks at a World Cup….

  7. Acee, tell me about the nerves!

    The Aussies and Kiwis both picked on England’s lineout as a potential weakness, and it worked just fine there – I’d not want to compromise the rest of the team based on that one aspect and I’m certain a huge amount of the focus for England has been on the line out. Against the NZ team there were a bunch of shortened line outs, so I’d imagine we are in for more of the same in the final.

    Also, Lawes has been on fire and offers a lot more in carrying and defence – he and Sinckler have been key in the gain line short passing game.

  8. This game reminds me of an analogy I once read.Jimmy Connors, the American Tennis player was once asked who was his worst opponent to play.He replied it was bad playing against Borg because the harder he hit the ball it came back harder,but it was even worse against McEnroe because he would give you a nick here,a cut there,and a slash somewhere else and before you knew it you had bled to death.
    South Africas chances depend on them keeping England off the Front Foot for as long as possible.Once on the front foot its over to George for some forensic slicing and dicing-With pace to burn and a multiplicity of runners it comes down to correct execution and the result is Englands 1st try last week,not to mention the Irish Demolition.
    It will be interesting to watch Kilosi go about his fire fighting as it will be his job to quell the Kamikazis-he has a big pack but no truffle hounds until they get Louw and Marx from the bench.Ive seen plenty of Louw down at the Rec,the man is an absolute beast but doesn’t possess the speed of Underhill and Cuury.

  9. I’m very worried about this game. Not because I think complacency will be an issue, I just think SA will come firing out the blocks. I am not totally convinced that they are all route 1 and kicking as so many seem convinced. In the first two tests on our summer tour last year, when on the front foot they bought in Le Roux as first receiver to great effect and obviously de Klerk dictated the (fast) pace brilliantly. A lot of their team are familiar with our players so know their respective strengths and weaknesses. They will also relish being underdogs and will use every media sound bite to their advantage. I think the packs are very well matched and while ours is perhaps more mobile, if the SA’s get on the front foot, that mobility will count for little – and then they have that second wave of equally powerful forwards coming off the bench.

    I’d say if we do have an advantage it is in the 11, 13, 14 area of the field and I’d like to see us ask questions of them early out wide and perhaps aerially such as how NZ isolated Mbimpi with a cross field kick to Reece in the pool game which led to a try.

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  10. I think it’s quite obvs from the SA team that we are unlikely to get dominance physically. I hope EJ’s gameplan is to move them around and kick the ball intelligently – setpieces may prove a weakness and i would rather keep the ball in play and try to turn them a lot. My one disappointment in EJ for this RWC is the selection has proven, as many thought it would, slightly wrong. McConnochie and Nowell could have been an extra FR and SH and possibly more useful to the campaign. Hard to criticise when we have made the final though!

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