England recorded a conclusive if untidy win over Australia (Mike Egerton/PA)
England welcome South Africa to Twickenham in a mouthwatering rematch of the World Cup final two years on.
The Springboks battled past Eddie Jones’ side on the big stage and edged out the British and Irish Lions 2-1 this summer. They enter the match in fine form too, having surged past Scotland last week to lock up a 30-15 victory at Murrayfield.
The Boks poses what Richard Cockerill claims to be a daunting task: “Physically from a scrum, set-piece and line-out point of view, there isn’t a harder team to play against in the world at the moment.”
But this is a very different England side, packed with guile and invention, namely in the shape of 22-year-old Marcus Smith, which played out in the 32-15 win over Australia last weekend.
Jones has proven daring with his surprise selections and believes that unpredictability can unsettle the world champions: “The whole team is up for the fight. I’ve never seen a team as ready to play against South Africa. We know exactly how we want to play, we know exactly where we think there is a weakness with South Africa and we’ve just got to go out there and execute. And execute with a spirit of adventure, a spirit of taking the English game where it’s never been before. We know this South African team is the best in the world at the moment. So there’s a great opportunity for us to prove ourselves.”
Follow live updates, build-up, analysis and reaction from Twickenham in this colossal match-up following the conclusion of Scotland vs Japan:
TRY! Scotland 26-17 JAPAN (Tevita Tatafu try, 65 minutes)
Lineout ball just about won and Tevita Tatafu is over! Scott Cummings nearly nicks the Japanese throw but Jack Cornelsen manages to wrestle it back, and Tatafu bursts out of the gather bodies to trample his way to the line…
Hang on – the TMO is checking how Cornelsen gathered that ball…Is that a knock-on? I’m not sure it is! This will stand. Stuart Berry confirms as much from his truck, Brendon Pickerill permits Rikiya Matsuda to take the conversion…
Matsuda may wish he didn’t! That’s his second properly nasty kick of the afternoon. It skews right of the posts.
Scotland 26-12 Japan, 63 minutes
Sharp from Japan. From a midfield scrum they play two passes and then produce a brilliant 50:22. Japan lineout five metres out – that was a delightful kick.
Scotland 26-12 Japan, 62 minutes
Knocked on with the line in sight! Scotland had built momentum well but a slightly loose carry from Scott Cummings and a decent shot to his ribs means a spilled ball, and Japan scrum feed.
Time for some more changes – Keita Inagaki is introduced on the Japanese loosehead, George Horne at scrum-half for Scotland, and there are changes in both back rows: Matt Fagerson replaces Jamie Ritchie and Michael Leitch trudges off as the rather large Tevita Tatafu stomps on. Ritchie and Leitch share an embrace before they settle down to their watching brief for the last 20 minutes.
Scotland 26-12 Japan, 61 minutes
Scotland carry well inside the 22 having failed to set something more structured from the lineout. They draw another penalty, and Scotland tap-and-go quickly!
Scotland 26-12 Japan, 59 minutes
This time the arm is pointed Scotland’s way! Kazuki Himeno is isolated and chopped down by the busy McNally, and two Scottish jackalers like what they find among the carrion – Himeno is penalised for holding on. Scotland kick for the right corner.
Scotland 26-12 Japan, 58 minutes
Big double tackle and Stuart McNally fumbles! The hooker’s third touch isn’t quite as good as his first two as Japan cr-unch him in the carry and force the ball free.
Japan will attack, as they have done all afternoon, from deep in their own territory…
And Pierre Schoeman is pinged to allow them to clear in comfort and keep the ball.
Scotland 26-12 Japan, 56 minutes
Ali Price has kicked rather well this afternoon, putting one perfectly on the head on the Japanese catcher who is given a muscular embrace by three chasers as he comes back to earth. His offload is unwise, Scotland gather and Finn Russell pushes a perfect kick for the corner with his weaker left-foot. Scotland lineout inside the Japan 22.
TRY! SCOTLAND 26-12 Japan (Stuart McNally try, 55 minutes)
And his second job will be scoring! A meaty maul, some fine guidance from the rear by the replacement hooker and with Zander Fagerson and Hamish Watson clearing the way in front of him, McNally is able to make safe progress to within scoring distance. He crashes over, Finn Russell’s converts, and that will just steady any nervy Scots after the Japan fightback.
Scotland 19-12 Japan, 53 minutes
A brief delay while referee Brendon Pickerill again stabilises the scrum and Jamie Bhatti will soon be back with us.
In fact, it may be properly soon as Scotland are awarded a penalty for offside and the clock runs out on the sin-binning.
Finn Russell pokes it for the corner and here come the cavalry, Bhatti back on, Hamish Watson too, and Stuart McNally replacing George Turner at hooker. McNally’s first job will be to find a hoisted teammate at the five metre lineout…
Scotland 19-12 Japan, 50 minutes
Instability on the engage and a free kick to Scotland, which Finn Russell is going to boot as high as he possibly can and ask his teammates to chase…
Knocked on! Kazuki Himeno fails to catch cleanly and Scotland will have possession just outside the Japan 22.
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