Boks vs England Preview

Written by Stephen Smith (StevieS)

Posted in :End of Year Tour, Original Content, Springboks on 1 Nov 2018 at 09:09
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It’s that time of the year again, time to haul out the Bok jersey and, after the recent performances against the All Blacks, we can do this with pride.

The Boks are full of confidence as they head into this weekend’s encounter against England at Twickenham, but the English are hurting after a dramatic year which has seen Eddie Jones’ team lose their aura of invincibility which saw them claim 18 test victories in a row to equal the All Blacks’ record for a Tier One Nation. They will be out to avenge their series defeat to South Africa, and also to build momentum into next weekend’s mouth-watering clash against the All Blacks, the first encounter between these teams since 2014, which shows how messed up World Rugby’s scheduling is.

The Boks will have to make do without a large number of players due to injury and also the fact that this match falls outside the international test window. The English are in the same boat, maybe more so as they make do without the Vunipola brothers, Nathan Hughes and others due to a combination of retirement, injury and suspensions.

The Boks and England have been playing against each other since 1906 in Tests and Saturday will see the 42nd Test being played. The Boks currently lead the winning stakes 25-14 with 2 draws.

In England the Boks have won 11, lost 9 and drawn 1, in South Africa they have won 11, lost 4 and drawn 1, and at neutral venues the score again favours the Boks with 3 wins to 1 loss.

The points scored by South Africa is 876 for an average of 21.36 per game vs 705 by England for an average of 17.20 points per game, so there really is not a lot in it.

The Boks have won 3 of the last 5 encounters, and of the last 5 encounters at Twickenham we have won 4.

A look at the Boks:

Players missing

· Franco Mostert
· Beast Mtawarira
· Faf De Klerk
· Willie Le Roux
· Francois Louw
· Lukhanyo Am
· Lionel Mapoe

Of the above mentioned players, Faf De Klerk will be the player most missed. He provides the Boks with X-factor and keeps opposition guessing with his speed and is certainly not afraid to put his body on the line for the Boks. Faf has played the majority of the Tests for the Boks this year and it will be interesting to see who Rassie Erasmus chooses to wear the No. 9 jumper.

Internal distractions

· Franco Mostert’s availability and future in the tug-of-war between the Lions and Gloucester.
· The Akker van der Merwe vs Schalk Brits debate.
· Who will replace Faf De Klerk.

A look at England:

Players missing

· Nathan Hughes
· Chris Robshaw
· Billy Vunipola
· Mako Vunipola
· Joe Marler
· Sam Simmonds
· Joe Launchbury
· Nick Isiekwe
· Ellis Genge
· Jonathan Joseph
· Anthony Watson
· Marland Yarde

Of the above players it is hard to know who to single out as the most significant loss. You have three props in Joe Marler (retired from international rugby at 28), Mako Vunipola (calf) and Ellis Genge (knee) who are key to England’s scrum, Billy Vunipola is a human wrecking-ball, Chris Robshaw is a key member of the leadership group and Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson provide pace and power in the backline.

Internal distractions:

· Eddie Jones is under increasing pressure to right the ship after a disastrous year for the Red Rose, winning just 3 out of 9 games this year, a far cry from the 22 out of 23 victories achieved over 2016 and 2017.
· Dylan Hartley’s selection over Jamie George, although this could have been solved by Jones naming Owen Farrel and Dylan Hartley as co-captains of England.

All in all, the Boks should have too much power for England this Saturday and I expect them to start the tour off with a win.

Bok Team for Saturday which I think will be named:

15. Damian Willemse
14. S’bu Nkosi
13. Jesse Kriel
12. Damian De Allende
11. Aphiwe Dyantyi
10. Handre Pollard
9. Louis Schreuder
8. Duane Vermeulen
7. Pieter-Steph Du Toit
6. Siya Kolisi
5. RG Snyman
4. Eben Etzebeth
3. Frans Malherbe
2. Malcolm Marx
1. Steven Kitshoff

16. Bongi Mbonambi
17. Trevor Nyakane
18. Wilco Louw
19. Lood De Jager
20. Warren Whiteley
21. Embrose Papier
22. Elton Jantjies
23. Cheslin Kolbe


  • Willie is actually also a significant loss. He is really our chief play maker who operates like a second flyhalf and often makes the pass that leads to a try being scored. The only other real play maker we have is Elton, but if you put him under pressure at 10 he fades away.

  • Comment 1, posted at 01.11.18 10:34:32 by Bokhoring Reply
  • How my heart warms at seeing Bongis name on the team sheet.

  • Comment 2, posted at 01.11.18 11:27:19 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • Some reports that we will see 5 PSDT, 6 Kolisi, 7 Thor, 8 Whiteley with Snyman and Lood on the bench

    Apparently Whiteley has also trained in the 7 position with Thor at 8

  • Comment 3, posted at 01.11.18 11:31:55 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 3) : I saw that yesterday. It has its merits. Bulking up our pack as England tire in the last quarter.

  • Comment 4, posted at 01.11.18 11:39:19 by StevieS Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 3) : Im still not convinced Whiteley adds any value in the NH as he is too lightweight to make any impact in the rucks, assuming he even goes near one and as much as he makes tackles they are never knock back/dominant tackles. Cant have both Kolisi and Whiteley waiting on the wing for the ball. PSDT has been our best 7 and possibly best 7 in rugby championship. Moving him to accommodate Whiteley will get me to start losing any faith i still have in Rassie. Remember if Rassie goes 0/4 he ends with a worse record than Coetzee…

  • Comment 5, posted at 01.11.18 11:57:07 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 5) : To be honest, I hadn’t even considered moving PSDT from 7 as he was so dominant there.

    I hope it doesn’t backfire on us if he moves to lock and we start Whiteley and Duane.

  • Comment 6, posted at 01.11.18 12:01:13 by StevieS Reply
  • Nice to see our captain on the team sheet

  • Comment 7, posted at 01.11.18 12:04:57 by jdolivier Reply

  • I cant imagine Louis Schreuder getting the nod above Embrose Papier, that would signify that Papier is firstly in the team as window dressing. I dont think Erasmus can afford to go that route.

  • Comment 8, posted at 01.11.18 12:09:36 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @jdolivier (Comment 7) : Agreed, wasn’t it nice how he acknowledged WP after the final. 😈 :mrgreen:

  • Comment 9, posted at 01.11.18 12:12:05 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @StevieS (Comment 6) : Simply cannot have Whiteley and Kolisi in the same loose trio. It just doesnt work

  • Comment 10, posted at 01.11.18 12:28:02 by SheldonK Reply

  • Given the squad I would have kept PSDT at 7 and Thor at 8 (allows him to play to the ball if needed) with Whiteley on the bench. Eben is pretty decent at lineout time and you can still throw at PSDT even if he plays 7 – so not such a big risk starting Snyman (although he needs a few klaps before each game just to remind not to give stupid penalties away)

  • Comment 11, posted at 01.11.18 12:32:32 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 10) : Especially not on the heavier fields up North.

    @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 8) : I was naming the team I expect to see. Schreuder has the most experience, which I thought would be needed.

  • Comment 12, posted at 01.11.18 13:31:03 by StevieS Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 12) : Got it Stevie, its going to be a be an interesting call on the coach’s part. Actually we are way short on experience at 9.

  • Comment 13, posted at 01.11.18 13:57:42 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 13) : Agree 100%. I was expecting Reinach to get a chance. He and Faf are very similar players, and Reinach has Bok caps to his name and Northern Hemisphere experience.

  • Comment 14, posted at 01.11.18 14:25:18 by StevieS Reply
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 13) : Van Zyl is rubbish so hoping its Schreuder, guess Papier is most likely.

  • Comment 15, posted at 01.11.18 14:41:23 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 15) : So Van Zyl it is….oh dear!! Also seems the Thomas to tighthead is a thing of the past and is he the loosehead reserve having played how many minutes at loosehad this year??

  • Comment 16, posted at 01.11.18 16:12:11 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 16) : Some very different calls. Glad to see Andre on the bench.

  • Comment 17, posted at 01.11.18 16:27:47 by StevieS Reply
  • Well , I don’t know what to say. What does the coach see in van Zyl, what is the hype the coaches have with him about? I haven’t seen any evidence from his season that he should start for the Boks. Is he maybe an ex-WP player? 😆

  • Comment 18, posted at 01.11.18 16:49:27 by Quintin Reply

  • @Quintin (Comment 18) : So we can expect the forwards to have trained all week to build a “ladder” to protect Van Zyl while he gets ready to execute the worst box kick in SA.

  • Comment 19, posted at 01.11.18 16:59:15 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 19) : So what happened with calling Reinach now?

  • Comment 20, posted at 01.11.18 18:03:03 by coolfusion Reply

  • @Bokhoring (Comment 19) : The minute i see that im turning off the game as i know Rassie and the Boks have lost the plot completely

  • Comment 21, posted at 02.11.18 07:55:38 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 21) : You win rugby games by either doing the unexpected or you perform the expected so well that everybody knows whats coming but there is still nothing they can do about it.

  • Comment 22, posted at 02.11.18 08:41:09 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 22) : My prediction…the first ruck the Boks will take a full minute to form a train just to make sure all the Eng players are ready for the box kick…the box kick will then go straight up and all Bok forwards will be offside, Farrel lines up for the poles…and hopefully misses :mrgreen:

  • Comment 23, posted at 02.11.18 08:44:12 by SheldonK Reply

  • @StevieS (Comment 17) : I think I prefer your team.

  • Comment 24, posted at 02.11.18 08:48:26 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 24) : Me too. Rassie has brought back some pride, so we’ll have to see what his plan is. Just as long as there is no train formed for box kicks!!!

  • Comment 25, posted at 02.11.18 09:32:23 by StevieS Reply
  • I have an idea for Rassie to outfox the other fox – Mr Jone. Have all the forwards form a huge ladder and then van Zyl actually runs the ball with all the forwards pealing off after him.

  • Comment 26, posted at 02.11.18 09:38:48 by Bokhoring Reply

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