By William Hill
Last Updated: 6th November 2019
Saturday sees England face South Africa for the right to lift the Webb Ellis Cup. Six weeks of invigorating action has led to a rematch of the 2007 final, and England stand a game away from winning the trophy for a second time. Here, we guide you through the Rugby World Cup final.
Red Rose set to bloom
Eddie Jones’s side have been excellent this tournament. With a weather-shortened group, which they topped by comfortably dispatching Argentina, Tonga and the USA, they dismantled Australia and produced a near-perfect display to dominate New Zealand in the semi-final. The manner of the All Blacks victory in particular was eye-catching and it would take a brave person to bet against England.
A number of players have very much come of age, but the two flankers, dubbed the ‘Kamikaze Kids’ by Jones, have been outstanding. Tom Curry and Sam Underhill have been excellent and they will be vital if England are to beat a Springbok side that prides itself on being stronger in contact.
Power-packed South Africans seeking glory again
The Springboks have bounced back from a tough opening defeat at the hands of the All Blacks to reach their third final. The semi-final against Wales won’t go down as a classic, with 81 combined kicks from hand, but South Africa’s poise saw them through in the late stages. England will be an altogether different beast, but this South African outfit did beat them in a three-game series just a year ago.
So much will rely on the South African pack dominating their opposite numbers, but the backline has the unpredictability and power to cause surprises, especially Damian de Allende in the midfield, who has a enticing matchup against Owen Farrell, who was the cause of much controversy in the autumn international over a potential shoulder charge.
South Africa are the 2/1 outsiders, but finals are regularly a great leveller and this game will see two great redemption arcs come to a conclusion, as England bounce back from the failure of 2015 and South African rugby’s revitalisation under Rassie Erasmus.
Farrell and Tuilagi can step up on big stage
Farrell, so often England’s talisman in big games, will bear the brunt of the pressure again in this match. Aside from his defence assignment against De Allende, he will shoulder kicking duties and captaincy. However, with so much experience in big matches with Saracens and England, he’s proven to be dependable. Back him to be Man of the Match at 11/2.
Manu Tuilagi has experienced a real renaissance of his England career, scoring in just the second minute of the semi-final and being back to his rambunctious best in the 13 jersey. Tuilagi is 3/1 to score anytime and against Lukhanyo Am, he has a clear power advantage.