A huge encounter awaits in Bloemfontein on Saturday as South Africa and England go into battle for the second time in this three-Test tour.
The Springboks will be looking to claim a morale-boosting series victory over the 2016 and ‘17 Six Nations champions, while the visitors are hoping to take matters into the final game.
It was a thrilling opening match of the tour with the Red Rose playing some outstanding rugby in the first 20 minutes, only for Rassie Erasmus’ men to produce a superb comeback. The southern hemisphere outfit ended up claiming a 42-39 triumph over Eddie Jones’ charges in what was an ideal start for captain and flanker Siya Kolisi.
Kolisi was part of a forward pack which dominated the collisions, allowing Faf de Klerk to dictate proceedings and find space in both the inside and outside channels.
England were all over the place defensively and no doubt much of their discussions this week will have centered around slowing down the South African ball. Both rearguards were poor but Jones would have been disappointed by how easily the Springboks made it over the gain-line.
Despite youngster Tom Curry’s best efforts, who was the Red Rose’s best forward in the first Test, the tourists were comfortably beaten in the physical exchanges. Nick Isiekwe and Chris Robshaw have duly been dropped from the squad completely, meaning that Joe Launchbury returns after recovering from injury and Brad Shields starts his first match for the country.
Mark Wilson and Danny Cipriani are also named in the 23 as Jones attempts to rectify the issues which encompassed their performance last weekend.
Erasmus has made changes too, bringing in Frans Malherbe to replace the rested Wilco Louw, who has had a demanding Super Rugby schedule, while Pieter-Steph du Toit comes in for Jean-Luc du Preez at flanker.
They will feature alongside Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira in the pack, who will make his 100th appearance for South Africa. The 32-year-old continues to produce excellent performances and he was part of a forward unit that were too powerful for their opponents in the first Test.
The Springboks will look for a repeat of that effort, but the visitors should theoretically be better this weekend. Having already played one game at altitude, England will be a bit more acclimatized after struggling with the tempo the hosts played at.
However, despite the alterations the visitors have made, which should see a stronger display, the home side are a far more confident and energized squad. Following that victory a week ago, the South African public have re-engaged with the team so, if England are to take it to Cape Town, they will have to produce an exceptional performance.
RSA (on 83.82 points) at home -vs- ENG (on 85.18 points)
RR WORLD RANKINGS (Points Available)
|Possible Outcome||Rating Point
|If RSA win by 1-15 points||0.836||84.66||84.34||Yes|
|If RSA win by more than 15||1.254||85.07||83.93||Yes|
|If result is a draw||0.164||83.66||85.34||No|
|If ENG win by 1-15 points||1.164||82.66||86.34||No|
|If ENG win by more than 15||1.746||82.07||86.93||No|
2018: South Africa won 42-39 in Johannesburg
2016: England won 37-21 in London
2014: South Africa won 31-28 in London
2012: South Africa won 16-15 in London
2012: South Africa and England drew 14-14 in Port Elizabeth
2012: South Africa won 36-27 in Johannesburg
2012: South Africa won 22-17 in Durban
2010: South Africa won 21-11 in London
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 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Jesse Kriel, 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 Brad Shields, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Mark Wilson, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Denny Solomona
Date: Saturday, June 16
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 17:05 local (16:05 BST, 15:05 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)