England and South Africa contest the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final at the International Stadium in Yokohama on Saturday and England start as favourites with the bookmakers.
England v South Africa, Saturday 2nd November, Yokohama, KO 11:00 (South African time)
Weather Forecast – Yokohama Stadium
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant Referees: Romain Poite (France), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
England put in an absolutely terrific performance to upset the All Blacks in the semi finals last week, a game they had started as 7 point underdogs. They came out on top 19-7 with Manu Tuilagi scoring their only try after just 2 minutes. England were 10-0 up at half time and despite gifting the All Blacks their only points of the game just before the hour mark (which made it 13-7), they more than held their own in the final quarter to run out deserved winners.
England had booked their semi final place with a 40-16 victory over the Wallabies in the quarter finals (17-9 half time), covering a minus handicap of around 8.5 points.
England topped Pool C with a record of 3 wins and 1 draw and that draw was derived from a cancelled game against France. England's victories came against Tonga (35-3), USA (45-7) and Argentina (39-10). England have scored 22 tries in the tournament and they have conceded just 4.
Jonny May, Tuilagi and Luke Cowan-Dickie have all scored 3 tries for England in the tournament so far.
This will be England's first appearance in the final since 2007 when they lost 15-6 to South Africa in Paris. Their only RWC title came in 2003 when they beat Australia 20-17 in Sydney and in 1991 they lost the final at Twickenham 12-6 to the Wallabies.
The Springboks ground out a 19-16 semi final win over Wales to put themselves in the frame for a third RWC title. It was a dour battle which South Africa never trailed but the argument was only settled by the last of 4 successful Pollard penalties 4 minutes from time. Damian de Allende scored the Boks only try on 57 minutes which Pollard also converted and from a punting angle the margin of victory was half of where the pre-match handicap had been set.
Earlier the Springboks ended the hopes of host nation Japan with a 26-3 quarter final victory (5-3 half time). In the pool stage the Boks lost their opening match 23-13 to the All Blacks before victories over Namibia (57-3), Italy (49-3) and Canada (66-7) saw them finish as runners up in Pool B. Overall the Boks have scored 31 tries and conceded 4.
This will be South Africa's third RWC final. Aside from the aformentioned win over England in 2007 their first world title came in 1995 when they beat the All Blacks 15-12 in Johannesburg.
Makazole Mapimpi is the Boks leading try scorer in the tournament with 5 whilst Cobus Reinach and Bongo Mbonambi have both scored 3.
England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 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
Substitutes: 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
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Francois Louw, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn
Head to Head
In June 2018 South Africa won a home series 2-1 and in November England edged a tight contest 12-11 at Twickenham.
The teams have met 4 times in RWC tournaments;
In the 2007 final in Paris South Africa won 15-6
In the 2007 pool stage South Africa won 36-0
In the 2003 pool stage in Perth England won 25-6
In the 1999 quarter finals in Paris South Africa won 44-21
Most Recent Head to Heads
Nov 2018 Twickenham England 12-11 South Africa (Tries 0-1)
Jun 2018 Cape Town South Africa 10–25 England (Tries 1-1)
Jun 2018 Bloemfontein South Africa 23–12 England (Tries 2-2)
Jun 2018 Johannesburg South Africa 42–39 England (Tries 5-5)
Nov 2016 Twickenham England 37-21 South Africa (Tries 4-2)
Nov 2014 Twickenham England 28–31 South Africa (Tries 3-3)
Nov 2012 Twickenham England 15–16 South Africa (Tries 0-1)
Jun 2012 Port Elizabeth South Africa 14–14 England (Tries 1-1)
Jun 2012 Johannesburg South Africa 36–27 England (Tries 4-3)
Jun 2012 Durban South Africa 22–17 England (Tries 2-1)
Early Betting – Match Result (80 mins)
South Africa 17/10
England -4.5 points at 9/10
South Africa +4.5 points at 9/10
Quotes are an average of what was on offer from a selection of bookmakers at the time of writing and are subject to change.
I must admit to being surprised when the handicap came out at England -3.5 and I helped myself to some of that. I have a large outright interest at 9/2 but thought the cap should be closer to 8 points and cannot resist getting further involved.
England were so impressive against New Zealand dominating them in a way I have never seen before and while the Bok style will be different I think the English will be too strong.
The Springboks have lost to New Zealand, made hard work of Japan and just edged a Welsh side who are riddled with key injuries and would have been bundled out by France in the quarters but for a moment of madness by the French lock. They have had a very favourable draw and they now meet a side who have dominated all Rugby Championship teams they have played in this Rugby World Cup.
Betting is about head not heart and my head says England will draw clear to win well.
1st Bet: 6 units England -4.5 at 9/10 (widely available)
If England do get ahead the Boks will have to chase the game and that could be trouble
2nd Bet: 2 units England by 13+ at 28/10 WSB
Quotes are correct at the time of writing but are subject to change.
The Handicap, Rugby Betting Show