The first of three test matches between South Africa and England takes place in Johannesburg on Saturday and the Springboks start as the bookmakers favourites.
South Africa v England, Saturday 9th July, Johannesburg, KO 17:05 (South African time)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)
The Boks fielded an experimental line up against Wales in Washington last week and they came up on the wrong side of a forgettable game, going down 22-20. South Africa also lost narrowly (24-22) to Wales in Cardiff in their final match of 2017 and earlier results on that end of year tour included a heavy defeat in Ireland (38-3) and wins in France (18-17) and Italy (35-6).
This will be the first test on home soil since the 2017 Rugby Championship where results were mixed, a 37-15 win over Argentina, 27-27 draw with the Wallabies and a 25-24 loss to the All Blacks.
In the June 2017 inbound tour the Boks whitewashed France 3-0 with winning margins in excess of 20 points in each game.
England bid to bounce back from a disappointing Six Nations campaign in February / March this year. They began by thumping Italy in Rome and edging a home game against Wales but their next 3 matches ended in defeat, in Scotland (25-13), in France (22-16) and at home to Ireland (24-15).
Last week they lost a preparation match 63-45 to the Barbarians at Twickenham and they have a number of likely starters absent from their travelling party for this tour.
The most recent meeting with the Boks came at Twickenham in 2016 and England won it 37-21 a first victory over South Africa since 2006.
When England last toured South Africa in 2012 they lost the first 2 matches, 22-17 in Durban and 36-27 in Johannesburg before drawing the final contest 14-14 in Port Elizabeth.
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 S’busiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane/Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw/Thomas du Toit, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant
England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (c), 11 Mike Brown, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Nick Isiekwe, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Brad Shields, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Denny Solomona
Most Recent Head to Head (any venue)
Nov 2016 Twickenham England 37-21 South Africa (Tries 4-2)
Nov 2014 Twickenham England 28–31 South Africa (Tries 3-3)
Nov 2012 Twickenham England 15–16 South Africa (Tries 0-1)
Jun 2012 Port Elizabeth South Africa 14–14 England (Tries 1-1)
Jun 2012 Johannesburg South Africa 36–27 England (Tries 4-3)
Jun 2012 Durban South Africa 22–17 England (Tries 2-1)
Nov 2010 Twickenham England 11–21 South Africa (Tries 1-2)
Nov 2008 Twickenham England 6–42 South Africa (Tries 0-5)
South Africa -3.5 points
England +3.5 points
Note, odds quoted are an average of what was available at the time of last update but are subject to change.
Prior to the 2016 defeat at Twickenham the Boks had won 11 and drawn 1 of the previous 12 head to heads and the visitors, who arrive on the back of a poor run of results, haven’t looked anything like the force they were last year. England did send a largely second strong squad on their June tour of Argentina and still managed to win both tests but whilst this travelling party is much stronger there are still a few key absentees.
I take the view that South Africa’s display in Washington last week has only a minimal bearing on the outcome of this test and I’m leaning to the home side. However given its the start of a new era for coach and captain preference is for the 1-12 margin market for a conservative stake.
Bet: 2.5 units, South Africa win by under 12.5 points at 7/4
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