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Rugby World Cup 2019: England set to face South Africa for ultimate prize in final

England and South Africa will battle it out to decide who lifts the Webb Ellis trophy.
England and South Africa will battle it out to decide who lifts the Webb Ellis trophy.
ANALYST
Modified 31 Oct 2019
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The curtain closes on the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan this Saturday as England and South Africa face off in the final of the tournament.

Eddie Jones will be looking to add a second World Cup trophy to England’s cabinet, while the Springboks will be eyeing their third.

England booked their place in the final with an impressive 19-7 win over defending champions New Zealand last Saturday.

Rassie Erasmus’s men held on to beat Wales 19-16 in their semi-final on Sunday, meaning the Springboks will get one fewer day for turnaround than England.

Jonny May and captain Owen Farrell have proved their fitness and have been listed in Jones’s starting XV after initial injury concerns.

Cheslin Kobe is set to make a return to South Africa’s starting line-up upon recovering from his ankle injury. S’Busiso Nkosi will drop out.

Frenchman Jerome Garces has been appointed referee for the World Cup Final. He will retire at the end of the tournament meaning this will be his final match.

England must be prepared to grind out a physical battle on Saturday, whilst the Springboks can expect their opponents to play a kicking game in an attempt to dominate territory.

Given their strong showing against the All Blacks, Eddie Jones’s men are considered favourites to take home the Webb Ellis trophy.

Key talking points: England

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  • England have arguably had the tougher route to the final, beating Tonga, USA, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand on the way.
  • They are now first in the global rankings after their dominant victory against New Zealand last weekend.
  • England have played one less game than South Africa as their final Pool match against France was cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis.

Key talking points: South Africa

  • The Springboks have won three of the four World Cup meetings they have had with England, one of which was the 2007 final.
  • The two sides have met a total of 42 times at test level. The Springboks have won 25, England have won 15 and two have ended in ties.
  • Interestingly, South Africa have never scored or conceded a try in a World Cup final, despite lifting the trophy twice.
Published 31 Oct 2019, 19:37 IST
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