England vs South Africa: Preview and Prediction
This Saturday, the Bokke play their 12th Test of the year, which marks the end of the longest season everrr for the green and gold massive. Currently coach Meyer’s record reads: played 11, won 6, drawn 2, lost 3. Two of those losses were against the All Blacks (away and home) and one was against the Wallabies in Aus, so not too shabby. Unfortunately, the two draws should have been wins given that they were against England and Argentina, just saying.
Heyneke has stated that this game may well define his season and right he is as a win would surely make for a more chillaxed Christmas in the Meyer household. A loss would suck massive camel balls but given the extra long season and extensive injury list, should not be seen as reason to fire the coach. It is true that the Bokke have struggled on this End of Year Tour but they have managed to win despite playing badly and that is a very encouraging sign.
I am going to try find some surf or place to dinrk beer in a bit so let’s get right down to this week’s game as England attempt get their first win over SA since 2006 and the Bokke look to muster up the energy levels required for one final push against a team they love to beat. And rightly so.
England vs Springboks 24th November 2012
England coach Stuart Lancaster has made five changes to his starting side after last week’s loss to the Wallabies and will be keen to prove that his team are capable of knocking over one of the top Southern Hemisphere sides for the first time this year. Look out for the centre combo of Manu Tuilagi and Brad Barritt. Both are incredibly skilled and dangerous on attack and incidentally about as English as I am successful at meeting women (which is not at all).
For the Bokke, the starting 15 is unchanged but shows two changes on the bench as prop Pat Cilliers and flyhalf Elton Janjties get their chances to shine, possibly in a more open second half. Pat I use Clear for Men Lambie has been instructed to play more to his strengths and will be keen to jump-start the flailing Bok backline by sitting a touch flatter on attack. Great news, I say! Expect much kicking (the Bokke will only look to play wider when in the English half) and smash ’em backwards defense being the order of the day.
The English have spoken all week about how they will front the Bok pack and dominate the physical battles which will allow them the time and space needed to bring their backs into play. They are correct that this will go a long way to blunting the Bokke but is far easier said than done. The Bok forward pack has been very impressive in the last few games and with Fran Louw in the form of his life, the Bokke should expect to win the breakdown battle and slow the English ball while bashing away up front and creating chances out wide. Simple, yet very effective.
At the end of the day for all the talk of more attractive rugby and scoring more tries, a win here in any form will be a fantastic end to a long year and a slow clap to the boys for one final big effort.
Venue: Twickenham, London
Kick-Off: 4:30pm (SA time)
Referee: Nigel Owens
England vs Springbok prediction: Bokke by 5-10
In the other games this weekend, All Blacks will smash Wales by more than 30, Wallabies will win in Italy, Argentina will win a toit one in Ireland, France will beat Samoa and Scotland will beat Tonga.