Key events

3 mins. Both sides have some energetic phases before Steward can’t field a kick cleanly and the Boks have a scrum around the England 10m line. It ends with a penalty to South Africa which Faf De Klerk is going to kick for posts

Maro Itoje wins a line out.
Maro Itoje wins a line out. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

Kick Off!

1 min. Farrell chips the ball deep and Marvin Orie gathers with 0% fuss.

Incredibly sad news as we wait for the kick off, as Scotland RU announce the death of Doddie Weir; a literally towering presence in the sport in Scotland and throughout the world.

Humility, humour, humanity, Doddie had it all and we are all worse off for him not being here, but better for having him.

Pre-match reading.

Eddie Jones wants England to forget getting hammered in 2019 – which you would think beating the Boks in 2021 may have helped them with already, but what to I know?

Read more here…

Do you have any answers to the stuttering nature of both of these sides in recent weeks? You can email me or tweet @bloodandmud and I’ll pass the best ones on to the coaches.


Despite a difficult outing last week for Jack Van Poortvliet, Eddie Jones keeps faith with the young scrum-half and the hopeful promise of this partnership with Marcus Smith. There are changes elsewhere, though, as Tommy Freeman comes in on the wing, Alex Coles replaces Sam Simmonds in the back row and Mako Vunipola give Ellis Genge a breather at loose-head.

The Boks have promising Number 8 Evan Roos in the starting XV, while Makazole Mapimpi replaces the unavailable Cheslin Kolbe.

England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Tommy Freeman, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Jack van Poortvliet, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Alex Coles, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 David Ribbans, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Jack Nowell.

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Canan Moodie.


Welcome to the Twickenham for the twilight of not only the day, but this season’s Autumn International series, as we prepare for the final match between England and South Africa.

The previous seven minutes of international rugby played by England saw them score 19 points, which is good. However, the 73 prior to that saw them score 6 and not look like being able to find a clue about how clock up any more until the side went double or quits on attack with the game vs NZ already gone to force an unlikely draw. The question still hangs for Eddie Jones about what his team are about, what the approach is and how they can consistently perform to a pattern that wins matches like last week, and today vs the Boks.

South Africa arrive after predictably thumping Italy last week, but this was on the back of losing their bigger matches vs Ireland and France. In many ways, Jacques Nienaber’s world champions have similar queries about their ability to create to win as England. Although Director Of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, seems to put their problems down to a New World Rugby Order with the sole intent of destroying his team, or something. An approach that has him banned for this match, which in his mind probably proves his point. I’m sure he’ll prepare a video informing us, either way.

The last decade of meetings has seen an even mix of wins for both sides and, 2019 World Cup final thumping aside, they are close results. Hard to see anything different this evening.

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