England v South Africa: Rugby World Cup 2019 final – live! – The Guardian,

England v South Africa: Rugby World Cup 2019 final – live! – The Guardian,

30 minutes to go.

The teams are going through the final warm-ups out on the field, the TV pundits are wringing out their last cliches and the fans are all no doubt in the ‘one more pint / toilet demand near kick- off ‘quandary.


Ohfrenny(@ ohfrenny)

@bloodandmudWatching in Dominican Republic. 5am ​​kick off here and heading to the “sports hub” at our hotel. The sports hub is a big room with 2 small TVs. Come on England!

November 2, 2019

“Hub” is literally the most erroneously used words in our modern lexicon . That and “literally”.


Bryan Habanahas just said “If South African can their hands on Cheslin Kolbe’s balls, then they’ll have a chance. ”

Interesting strategy but I’m sure they’re happy to try anything. It is a final after all.


Matthew Burrows writes,“Jack Jarvis, Emily Smith and I are watching with keen anticipation at the Lamplighter nightclub in Vancouver BC Canada! ”

Rugby in a nightclub, those crazy Canucks.


Brendan Large(@ brendanlarge)

@bloodandmudWatching in Norway from the sofa. Hoping for an England win and that this isn’t decided by a red card or officiating mistake, such as the 2nd disallowed try for England vs NZ.

November 2, 2019

Jerome Garces is the ref and he’s a strange mix of very fussy and verbose while also letting quite a bit go, especially at ruck time. This could play into SA’s hands with their counter-rucking game and frustrate England.

Ben Skeen is the TMO who treats every frequent intervention as his own personal TED Talk called “Why I like to ruin rugby games”, so that’s something to look forward to.

One thing is for sure: Sam Underhill will have a try disallowed by the TMO at some point, that’s just a regular part of his life now it seems.

Owen Farrell arrives at the stadium.
Owen Farrell arrives at the stadium. Photograph: David Ramos / World Rugby / Getty Images


“I am sorry to say,”laments Jeff Sachs, “but South Africa are not ready to beat England”

I see where you’re coming from Jeff. There have been lots of reflections on the last time the teams faced each other 2007 final and as a comparison it’s a good one. 2007 also saw a team with a powerful but limited game plan getting to the final to face the best team in the tournament and in the end the result of an SA win was entirely predictable.

The teams have swapped roles for this one and an England win looks on the cards.


Not that it’s needed, but even more import is present in the game as this is the final match for both head coaches. Jones is sticking around another year with England to oversee the the transition, which if he wins, will be nice for his successor trying to put his mark on the job – “Look mate, take my advice or don’t, but I did win the World Cup recently. I’ll be over here judging you. ”

Rassie Erasmus has this week confirmed this will be his last match as Head Coach. Erasmus only added head coach duties to his Director of Rugby role in 2018 when the shambles the Springboks had become needed someone to sort it quickly. He seems to have done alright, and I assume his final performance appraisal with himself as Director Of Rugby will go very well.

“Hello Lee,” says Will Padmore,“ like you I don’t think that the final will be as one sided as some have predicted. If England are to win I suspect it won’t be comfortable. 1966, 2003 and the Cricketers this year all went to extra time (or the equivalent) England do not do easy victories in finals. I’d be overjoyed with a win in normal time! ”

If it goes to extra time you’ll have to make your own MBM as I’ll probably have a seizure.

Pre-match reading department.

Eddie Jones won aRugby World Cupwith South Africa the last time these two sides played each other in a final. He tells Donald McCrae all about it here.

So how’s it going to go?

Barring some tricky moments versus Australia in the quarters, England have had almost exclusively front foot ball to work with in this tournament. That will not be the case today. As physical as England have been, they have not dealt with anything like this Springbok tackle line power, and the creative axis of Ford and Farrell have not had a specimen like Damien De Allende up in their grills both as a tackler and a runner.

Added to this, the 6 forwards-2 backs split on the South Africa bench will unleash in the second half a wave of atomising power just at the time when England have usually started to shut a game down. Also, while no-one expects Eddie Jones ’men to play badly, they are also unlikely to repeat the staggering levels of performance they executed last week.

These factors suggest that the relative England cakewalk being trotted about by some is bordering on hubris.

That said, South Africa will also face some things that they haven’t contended with yet; a relentless carrying game around the fringes that has the ability to punch holes even in this fearsome Springbok defense, a rucking game that will give the likes of Pieter Steph Du Toit a far harder time, and a 10 – 12 axis that can use the space this will generate (however small) to hurt them.

If England get ahead by 10 after thirty minutes I fancy this game could be over, but the longer it stays tight and that Bok bench becomes the key factor allied with their kicking game out of hand, the worse it will become for the fans in the white shirts.

A Japanese fan takes a selfie with England and South African supporters near the stadium.
A Japanese fan takes a selfie with England and South African supporters near the stadium. Photograph: Tom Jenkins / The Guardian


There’s a lot to ponderand you might as well tell me all about what’s on your mind on theEmailor viatweet. Updated


England’s only change sees Ben Spencer replace the injured Willi Heinz on the bench as Eddie Jones unsurprisingly names the same starting XV that so soundly beat the All Blacks.

South Africa also make just a single personnel swap, the fit again livewire and recent World Player of the Year nominee Cheslin Kolbe into the starting line-up replacing the departing Nkosi, who is out of the match 23 Altogether.

England:Elliot Daly; Anthony Watson, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell (captain), Jonny May; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements:Luke Cowan-Dickie, Joe Marler, Dan Cole, George Kruis, Mark Wilson , Ben Spencer, Henry Slade, Jonathan Joseph.

South Africa:Willie le Roux; Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian De Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Tendai Mtawarira, Mbongeni Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Siya Kolisi (captain), Pieter-Steph Du Toit, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements:Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Franco Mostert, Francois Louw, Herschel Jantjies, Frans Steyn.



Welcome everyone to our live coverage of theRugby World Cup 2019Final in Tokyo.

There’s been few lumps of meaty stuff to chew on since 2015: a referendum, “covfefe” , Love Island being a major cultural event, the Sherlockian mystery of the continuing popularity of Coldplay and roughly seventeen general elections.

This all means little to the fellas heading out on the pitch today because the past four years to them has meant only one thing – being ready to win this match. All the games,coaching changes,Grand Slams,record victories,humiliating losses,false startsandfugazi dawnswere all simply pieces of a 1, 460 day jigsaw to be arranged and slotted to form an image of lifting the trophy above their heads.

England arrive at this game with their manes fully plumped following a pride and confidence swelling dismantling of the favorites, New Zealand in the semis. An outing that showed a pulverising all-court game that alloyed of power, nous and no small amount of creativity.

South Africa’s route to the final has seen them put in spirit sapping, attack demolishing, body thumping displays of physical power to marmalise both Japan and Wales into a unrecoverable stupor.

There’s an old truism in rugby that “a good big‘ un beats a good little ‘un”. What happens when two teams packed with extremely good big’ uns unload everything directly at and probably through each other in the biggest match in the sport?

We’re about to find out.

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