With the Autumn Internationals starting this weekend, the boys over at The Rugby Pod have given their thoughts on England’s chances. In particular, former England fly-half and co-host Andy Goode is a little worried.
While the desire is always for a clean sweep, injuries have taken their toll on England selection. This combined with recent struggles in form make victories over a revamped South Africa and New Zealand a tall order.
Granted, South Africa will be without key starters this weekend as well, as no European-based players were considered for selection due to the match falling outside of the international Test window. That means no Wille le Roux, Faf de Klerk, Francois Louw or Cheslin Kolbe.
Speaking of England’s chances, Goode said:
“I think we beat South Africa. I think the Twickenham effect and the fact that South Africa are missing four of their best players… If we lose to South Africa first up, which there’s potential, then you’re playing the best team in the world next up and there’s no chance we’re beating the All Blacks.”
ENGLAND FIXTURES (all at Twickenham Stadium, Kick off 3pm local):
England v South Africa Saturday 3rd November 2018
England v New Zealand Saturday 10th November 2018
England v Japan England Saturday 17th November 2018
England v Australia Saturday 24th November 2018
On another interesting topic, Goode has also expressed how he thinks that Owen Farrell, in particular, may struggle with the stricter ruling’s on the tackle laws due to his upright tackling technique.
15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (co-captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Brad Shields, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Dylan Hartley (co-captain), 1 Alec Hepburn
Substitutes: 16 Jamie George, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Zach Mercer, 21 Danny Care, 22 George Ford, 23 Chris Ashton* [late withdrawal from Manu Tuilagi due to a groin strain injury]
SOUTH AFRICA TEAM:
15 Damian Willemse, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Lood de Jager, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 André Esterhuizen.