Kick-off: 1500, 03/11/2018
TV: Sky Sports
England suffered a 2-1 series loss in South Africa this summer but can take heart from having won the final Test in Cape Town 25-10.
Eddie Jones’ side also ended their Springboks hoodoo when prevailing 37-21 in the last autumn international clash between these fierce rivals at Twickenham a couple of years ago.
We’re happy to take 7/10 for the hosts to come out on top again on Saturday for our opening England vs South Africa prediction.
A Look At England’s Betting Odds
Jones has come under fire for tinkering too much with his team selections over the past 12 months, with a record-breaking run of 18 straight wins since ruined by five consecutive losses this year.
However, there is a more solid feel to the latest line-up, with Saracens star Owen Farrell named at fly-half.
Jonny May and Jack Nowell get the nod on the wings, while Henry Slade’s inclusion at outside centre is another positive choice and only Ben Te’o looks a risky option among the backs.
England’s pack lacks experience but slotting Dylan Hartley in as hooker and co-captain can help to address that issue and the forwards reportedly impressed in their week-long Portugal training camp.
“We’ve become very well organised in our set-piece and have done a lot of good work in Portugal over the last week,” Jones said.
“We have put in a new defence system and our attack looks more organised than it was on the South Africa tour.”
A Look At South Africa’s Betting Odds
South Africa rightly earned plenty of plaudits for two excellent performances against New Zealand during the Rugby Championship, winning 36-34 in Wellington and then only going down 32-30 in Pretoria.
There was also an encouraging 23-12 triumph over Australia in Port Elizabeth during a strong finish to that tournament.
However, away losses to Argentina and the Wallabies still leave question marks over how well the Springboks travel as a rule, with ill-discipline often hurting them on the road.
New boss Rassie Erasmus clearly has South Africa going the right way, but we can’t forget how poor they were when opening up last year’s tour of Europe with a 38-3 drubbing in Ireland.
With this game falling outside of the official international window, the Boks will be without their overseas-based players and Duane Vermeulen is wary of the colder weather.
Reflecting on similar issues when England won at Newlands in June, he said: “It’s going to be a bit different for us, to play up here in the north away from the harder fields and dry conditions.”
Head-to-head: South Africa 10-25 England, South Africa 23-12 England, South Africa 42-39 England, England 37-21 South Africa, England 28-31 South Africa
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