A spirited fightback last weekend against the All Blacks saw England claw a 25-6 deficit back in the final 15 minutes to draw the game, though an anticlimactic ending ensued as Marcus Smith decided to split the spoils, much to the distain of the home crowd. England were the more positive of the two sides for the most part of the game, with the visitors defending valiantly until a yellow card allowed Eddie Jones’ men to run riot in the latter stages.
South Africa have had a poor tour by their standards, losing two of their three fixtures and only beating Italy. That said, their defeats came against the two current best sides in world rugby, France and Ireland, and they will be determined to end their year on a high with a statement victory at Twickenham, though that may be easier said than done.
The Red Roses have won their last three clashes with the Springboks here at Twickenham, though the last two have come by the skin of their teeth with a one-point margin, and we’d expect a similarly close encounter this time round between two sides who are certainly below the peak of their powers at the moment.
Springboks +4 Handicap
The Boks have gone W3-L4 away from home now going back to last year’s Autumn Internationals, though those wins have come against Italy, Argentina and a below par Wallabies side that they also lost to on the road, and that doesn’t bode too well for them here.
The hosts have a strong W13-D2-L2 record here at Twickenham since the last World Cup, with their draws coming against very strong France and New Zealand sides, while their defeats came against Ireland (which is not the worst thing) and Argentina (likely an anomaly).
Jones has opted to drop Ellis Genge and Jack Nowell to the bench for this one, with Mako Vunipola and Tommy Freeman coming into the side to replace them. Jamie George and Alex Coles also earn themselves a start in the final test of the year. The Springboks have also made four changes, with Makazole Mapimpi and Eben Etzebeth the notable inclusions, and that experience could be key for the visitors here.
While England are rightly favourites on home soil, the Boks are certainly a dangerous side. In both defeats to Ireland and France this series, the visitors have finished within four points, as they also have done in each of their last two visits to Twickenham, and the +4 handicap line appeals.
SPRINGBOKS +4 HANDICAP
England v Springboks Teams
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