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England vs South Africa 20 / 11 / 2021

TRF_stormer2010

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Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)

One more to go. I have no idea what to expect though. In theory this will be the tough one for SA what with England being the highest rank of the 4N and loaded with the bulk of the B&I Lions heavy hitters. Its weird though that for some reason as a South African I "fear" both Wales and Ireland more from a rugby perspective. Probably that is just down to our poor match ups with both Wales and Ireland in relatively recent years on these November tours. Should be a cracking game regardless of the outcome. May the best team win.
 

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Wales have tended to beat us recently which promoted fear, their style also makes us more conservative, and Wales were Six Nations champions, but we are building well and beat a good Scotland side so I would say confidence is high, Eddie has already started the mind games, saying they will bring something different, again saying he knows how to beat the Springboks because he worked with us for a year in 2007 and that he knows what the Springboks will do, which is fine because the Springboks knows that everyone knows what they are trying to do that's the point no surprises, faith in the execution is the name of the game, If we do it well then it does not matter if the opposition knows what's coming as they have to try and nullify the approach.


On England: This will be a good test for Marcus Smith, his forwards probably wont have the upper hand all game and there will be periods of intense pressure, Scotland spoke of their style prevailing and Marcus Smith allegedly favours a style similar to the Scottish as proved with his Harlequins exploits. It will be good to see how he handles this pressure on his channel, and if his style can indeed unlock the Bok defence, doing so where the Scottish and Mastermind Townsend failed.

This is the World cup final rematch we have been waiting for and will be a great game, it's going to be very difficult beating England at Twickenham, this is not a neutral venue so they will have that boost.
 
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BPM

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From an England POV, there’s a good chance Farrell will miss the game, but that’s not our biggest worry …

Marler is not asymptomatic so I can’t see any way that he is involved in the game. He’s our best scrummaging loosehead by a distance so is a massive loss, which is made worse by Genge also being out and Mako, Obano and West being unavailable. Conservatively, Rodd is our 4th choice, but could easily be 6th choice with all of the players above available for selection. He had a good debut against Australia but playing against any of the SA tightheads is a massive step-up from James Slipper playing out of position.

I’m really hoping George is fit as a front row of Rodd, Blamire and Sinckler is unfortunately not going to cut it.
 

TRF_stormer2010

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I think South Africans tend to forget how close that RWC final actually was. We were one slipped tackle away (less accuracy from us and/or better execution from England) from a very different game. Both our tries also came from counterattacks as opposed to structured play. We are also going into this match still carrying Le Roux and without Faf, Kolbe or PSdT whilst Jantjies at 9 and Pollard at 10 have been off the boil. I really do hope we don't see Jantjies or Le Roux in the matchday 23. Probably too much to hope for. We haven't really brought back up at 10. Will just have to hope and pray either Pollard or Elton come good on the day.
 

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I think South Africans tend to forget how close that RWC final actually was. We were one slipped tackle away (less accuracy from us and/or better execution from England) from a very different game. Both our tries also came from counterattacks as opposed to structured play. We are also going into this match still carrying Le Roux and without Faf, Kolbe or PSdT whilst Jantjies at 9 and Pollard at 10 have been off the boil. I really do hope we don't see Jantjies or Le Roux in the matchday 23. Probably too much to hope for. We haven't really brought back up at 10. Will just have to hope and pray either Pollard or Elton come good on the day.
I think Reinach will definitely start in place of Herchel. But I can't see that Le Roux gets dropped, if he does and Francois Steyn starts then I will be very happy.
 

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England's tendency to not properly number up in the rucks I think will be exploited heavily and we will keep getting turned over. I don't think Jones will kick his habit of picking players out of position. Farrell not being in the team will be a positive IMO, he can make way for an actual 12 which would then help Smith. Tuilagi on the wing is a huge no-no with how much SA like to kick. The Aus game showed that he does not do the basics of a winger well at all and SA will exploit that far more. On the plus side, I'd fancy Steward to make kicking to the fullback a less viable option. England need to be wise to the fact that SA will often happily lose the kick and then smash the player on the ground. We need to have players behind the kicker ready to support. Most of the time the players don't make an effort to get behind them and allow half the opposition team to run past whilst they just jog back.

England have got to be up for it, any laziness on the field will be punished. We need to have learned from the WC as well, do not give SA any opportunities to scrum. We are missing our strongest scrummagers so we need to just bite the bullet and accept we aren't going to be pushing SA back. Get the ball out quickly. Unfortunately I don't see this happening either, traditionally England are **** poor at getting the ball out of the scrum as we seem to be incapable of accepting we are losing it. Every time we go for the shove rather than getting the ball out. It's like as a team we simply can't accept our pack is being outmuscled.

If we don't prat around in any scrums and we have proper support to diffuse the bombs, I think SA don't have a huge amount they can offer in structured play beyond that to cause too much worry, as long as everyone remains focused and doesn't just switch off.
 

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My prediction:

Low entertainment game that neutrals will be very bored of throughout,
SA will have set piece dominance and out muscle us at the ruck,
Lots of penalties, maybe a Mapimpi try and a maul try (our maul doesn't look good on attack or defence atm)

England 12 - 32 RSA


Sounds familiar for some reason...?
 

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Obvs I want Jones to pick a sensible team.

But I also half want him to carry on his experiments. If he doesn’t then what the hell was Saturday about and does he have any firm convictions?

Either way I think the Boks will just have too much power. Bit in the paper this morning about Jones wanting to dust off the blueprint of Japan 2015 and saying that we’re going to come up with something different……
 

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I don't expect anything close to a 20 point winning margin for us but it would be nice.

Would England be capable of a Japan 2015? There are certainly some of that match that they could try to replicate. Japan are excellent at not allowing a scrum to develop. On attack they also like to attack space rather than our bigger bodies and are excellent at upping the tempo and attacking space. On defense Japan went for the legs rather than high. They also double marked which worked a treat since we looked incapable of anything but one off runners. That match though our starting backline was very much a rotational one and there wasn't a single partnership with a single cap in that backline line up. Also, Poite was the ref. Everything went right for Japan and wrong for us. That said though I don't think a lot of that game can be seen as translatable to this match England have better individuals if not necessarily a better team dynamic but perhaps you have that as well. There is a reason you are rated #3 in the world and Japan #10 so everything does not have to translate for England to come out on top.
 

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I am concerned about our chances in this one. Regardless of whether or not England are having an off day, they have a far greater base level of competence than that of Wales or Scotland. That is incontrovertible.

Boks have been lacking an ability to break the line and finish ruthlessly when metres out. It's frustrating when there has been much dominance in other aspects of play, but it has not been translated efficiently enough into points on the board. I was at the Boks-Wales match. Despite the awful conditions, I think they could have done more.

Agreed with the above - Reinach has to start. Concerned about Pollard. Looking forward to the sh*thousery between Eben and Itoje.
 

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If Manu is on the wing then something has gone seriously wrong.

Radwan almost certainly won't start and tbh I think Marchant is a safer option under the high ball so I'd stick him at 23. Expect Eddie to drop Simmonds citing his size and Ludlams agression being needed v Boks.

Likely to get a 6/2 bench again tbh - assuming no Covid returnees or new cases I expect Eddie to go -

Rodd, George, Sinks, Itoje, Hill, Lawes, Underhill, Curry, Youngs, Smith, May, Manu, Slade, Malins, Steward

Blamire, Davison, Stuart, Ewels, Dombrandt, Ludlam, Quirke, Marchant
 

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If Manu is on the wing then something has gone seriously wrong.

Radwan almost certainly won't start and tbh I think Marchant is a safer option under the high ball so I'd stick him at 23. Expect Eddie to drop Simmonds citing his size and Ludlams agression being needed v Boks.

Likely to get a 6/2 bench again tbh - assuming no Covid returnees or new cases I expect Eddie to go -

Rodd, George, Sinks, Itoje, Hill, Lawes, Underhill, Curry, Youngs, Smith, May, Manu, Slade, Malins, Steward

Blamire, Davison, Stuart, Ewels, Dombrandt, Ludlam, Quirke, Marchant
I take it you are assuming Faz is unavailable through injury rather than EJ not picking him?

I think the interesting one is what happens if Faz is available. Personally I think that even EJ is not daft enough to put Manu on the wing against SA. With that in mind I would expect Faz to start at 10 with Smith on the bench.

I think that the experiment of Smith and Faz together was a failure. EJ and a lot of commentators have said that the first try was an example of how good it could be, but in reality that was a bog standard play that Quins and others use every game with the 12 putting it out the back to the 10 who manipulates space for a runner to come through
The big problem I had is that the structure basically took Smiths running game out of the equation which is about as big a tactical own goal as you can make once you've picked him

Also, Youngs was so slow that Eng were effectively nullifying their own attacking opportunities.
 

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I’ve been waiting for this game for two years. No clue which way it will go however, but it will be very close either way.
 

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If Manu is on the wing then something has gone seriously wrong.

Radwan almost certainly won't start and tbh I think Marchant is a safer option under the high ball so I'd stick him at 23. Expect Eddie to drop Simmonds citing his size and Ludlams agression being needed v Boks.

Likely to get a 6/2 bench again tbh - assuming no Covid returnees or new cases I expect Eddie to go -

Rodd, George, Sinks, Itoje, Hill, Lawes, Underhill, Curry, Youngs, Smith, May, Manu, Slade, Malins, Steward

Blamire, Davison, Stuart, Ewels, Dombrandt, Ludlam, Quirke, Marchant

I don't understand why Jones goes for a 6/2 split but then doesn't utilise the strength of that to bring on forwards early. He chooses a bench that is at odds with the tactics on the field, just like he chooses players at odds with the tactics. It's not to much that Jones makes incorrect selections or incorrect tactics, it's more that he is like a schizophrenic with one side making the selections and another making the tactics, the 2 don't seem to be linked at all. Against Aus why were we bringing on the forwards with 5 mins to go? Simmonds assist aside, that's rarely enough time to make an impact on the game.

It's not the first time he has done that either, I believe it was the 6N where he went 6/2 and then left 2 or 3 forwards on the bench.
 

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I don't think we'll see Farrell and I'd be surprised if we saw George either, tbh - neither looking in good shape going off
 

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Marler’s supposed to be available for selection. If that’s right, he has to start.

Hope George is OK. Boks would be licking their lips at the idea of Blamire and Dolly.

Wouldn’t mind seeing Martin on the bench for this. Big unit and looks like he’s got a bit of dog about him.

If Farrell’s out I wouldn’t mind seeing Atkinson and Manu in the centres as horses for courses.

And I’d really like to see May produce something against good opposition. Feels like he’s starting to head towards credit in the bank territory.
 

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If Farrell’s out I wouldn’t mind seeing Atkinson and Manu in the centres as horses for courses.

Come now, a 12 at 12 and a 13 at 13? What are you smoking? :p

Joking aside I think that would be pretty interesting to see; has EJ ever had a squad without a distributor in the centres?
 

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Marler’s supposed to be available for selection. If that’s right, he has to start.

Hope George is OK. Boks would be licking their lips at the idea of Blamire and Dolly.

Wouldn’t mind seeing Martin on the bench for this. Big unit and looks like he’s got a bit of dog about him.

If Farrell’s out I wouldn’t mind seeing Atkinson and Manu in the centres as horses for courses.

And I’d really like to see May produce something against good opposition. Feels like he’s starting to head towards credit in the bank territory.
Well Joe’s posting videos of his loss of taste and sounds very blocked up. He’ll have completed the 10 days isolation by mid-week, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s physically up to playing.

That said, when I had COVID, I fell ill on the Friday night, felt like I had the flu over the weekend and then I was fine come Monday morning. Didn’t even miss a single day of work. I just couldn’t taste a thing for 7mths (even now my tastebuds and sense of smell are very diminished).

If Joe’s experience is like mine, he might well be OK. I’m just not banking on it …
 

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