April 20, 2021, 5:19

Rugby World Cup final: England vs South Africa – highlights of last five Tests

Rugby World Cup final: England vs South Africa – highlights of last five Tests

England and South Africa have provided some memorable contests in recent years and another is expected when they collide in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.

Saturday’s decider in Yokohama will be the sixth meeting between the teams in the past three years, with England chasing a third win in a row that will see them crowned world champions for the first since 2003.

From England ending their 12-game winless streak against South Africa in 2016, to the Springboks’ thrilling comeback win in last year’s Test series in the Rainbow Nation, these games are never short on incident.

We’ve taken a look back at the last five Tests between the nations…

November 2018: England 12-11 South Africa

The last meeting between these nations was tight and attritional, with more of the same predicted on Saturday.

South Africa left Twickenham frustrated at losing a game they had dominated for large spells. They took England’s inexperienced scrum apart in the first half, while Maro Itoje spent 10 minutes in the bin as the front five consistently coughed up penalties.

Yet that dominance was not reflected on the scoreboard. The Springboks only led 8-6 at the interval thanks to Sbu Nkosi’s 34th-minute try as a host of other scoring opportunities went begging.

England made them pay for their profligacy, Elliot Daly booming over a long-range penalty before Owen Farrell slotted the decisive kick with seven minutes remaining.

Handre Pollard had a late chance to win it but his penalty shaved the post and South African frustrations reached boiling point on the final play when Farrell escaped punishment for an apparent no-arms tackle on Andre Esterhuizen.

June 2018: England blow series

Twice England let substantial leads slip as they blew the chance of a first series win in South Africa.

Leading 24-3 after 20 minutes of the first Test at Ellis Park, England were 29-27 down by half-time as the Springboks came roaring back into a helter-skelter contest.

Mako Vunipola’s sin-binning put the game behind England as South Africa capitalised one minute after his departure with their fifth try, giving new coach Rassie Erasmus and new captain Siya Kolisi their first win.

Lessons were not learned as England suffered another collapse a week later in Bloemfontein.

Up 12-0 after 13 minutes, they didn’t score again as an ill-disciplined display handed the series to South Africa, who ran out 23-12 winners.

With just pride to play for in the third Test in Cape Town, Danny Cipriani was handed his first Test start in almost a decade.

The fly-half’s brilliant crossfield kick for Jonny May’s try, which clinched a 25-10 victory, was the highlight of an error-strewn contest played in tough conditions.

2018 South Africa vs England series

1st Test: South Africa 42-39 England
2nd Test: South Africa 23-12 England
3rd Test: South Africa 10-25 England

Cipriani looked to have done enough to force his way into Eddie Jones’ thinking. Or so we thought…

November 2016: England 37-21 South Africa

Having won six games in a row against South Africa between 2000 and 2006, England then endured a 12-match winless streak against the Springboks, which included that gut-wrenching World Cup final loss in 2007.

After a decade of defeats, England finally got one over South Africa as they claimed their 11th successive Test win under Eddie Jones.

Source: skysports.com

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