England favourites for the World Cup, but …

Roger Childs reports that Eddie Jones, John Mitchell and their English team will be confident about Saturday’s final.

They won’t have bothered to study the video of the Springboks victory over Wales.

That match did rugby no favours and watching much of the game using the “high kick and hope” approach was very boring for spectators and viewers. 

England’s wily coach Eddie Jones

However, the South Africans will have carefully examined the tape of England’s stunning victory over the All Blacks, and seen how they overwhelmed the nervous and less motivated Kiwis.

They will be strategizing ways of taking the initiative away from the Poms, but that will not be easy.

An impressive English team

The mix is very impressive – strong forwards up front, young fast loosies, a quick passing halfback and fast three quarters.

Their scrummaging is first class, their tackling hard and effective, and their passing crisp and accurate.

They also have a very good lineout and it was only one bad throw last Saturday that allowed the All Blacks to get their only points. And in George Ford they have an excellent goal kicker.

The try that set the platform for the English victory over the All Blacks

The English team is very well balanced and superbly coached, however if they want to win, arrogance and over-confidence must be dispelled.

An impressive South African side

It is easy to forget that the Springboks won the Four Nations Trophy three months ago and although they lost to the All Blacks in their first World Cup game, the final is a different kettle of fish.

What will South Africa bring to the game?

They have a very impressive forward pack which out-muscled the Welsh last Sunday and their loose forwards are big, strong and fit.

At half-back they have one of the best in the business in Faf de Klerk.

He has a fast, long pass and is very speedy from the base of the scrum. At first five is the very experienced Handre Pollard who will run the game for them and be a deadly goal kicker should the opportunities arise.

A speedy and tricky runner, Cheslin Kolbe

A great relief for the coaches is the return of Star wing Cheslin Kolbe. He had been one of the best of the many talented wingers on show at the World Cup and he will provide some attacking flair that was lacking against Wales.

And the winner will be …

No doubt the big money will be on England, but don’t be surprised in the Springboks come through for a narrow win.

The English know that if they beat South Africa they will complete the treble of defeating the three top Southern Hemisphere sides in consecutive matches.

Something to savour and gloat about!

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