Back Boks to beat England

  • By: Reece Killworth
  • Last Updated: November 23 2012, 8:07 GMT

Our rugby union tipster Reece Killworth fancies South Africa to beat England as the autumn internationals continue this weekend.

South African celebrations are expected
South African celebrations are expected

It's once more unto the breach for South Africa this weekend - but in my view there's good reason to back them at evens to beat England at Twickenham.

The Springboks really do push their players hard on the international scene; while this will be just England's third Test match since the end of their summer tour of - ironically enough - South Africa, the visitors are playing their ninth.

And it's not just the amount of games but the quality of opponents they've played in that period too - two games apiece against New Zealand, Australia and Argentina in the Rugby Championship between August 18 and October 6 before they even embarked on their autumn tour of the Northern Hemisphere.

Back-to-back victories over Ireland and Scotland have shown the schedule hasn't damaged their ability to get over the line, though, but they'll surely know this game is a step-up on the last two - which can work in their favour.

I'm sure for at least some of the players, the end of the season can't come soon enough - but what better way to go out than a win at Twickenham?

And it's somewhere the Boks have happy memories of with two successive victories to call to mind as they prepare for the latest renewal of this fixture.

That's part of a run of nine victories in the last 10 matches between the sides - the exception being the 14-14 draw at Port Elizabeth in the summer.

I can't speak highly enough of the effort England put in during that game but the Springboks seem to have the knack of winning tight matches on this tour.

And since the start of 2010 they've only lost one game against a team outside of the top three in the world rankings, against Scotland in November 2010.

England's record against the Southern Hemisphere giants isn't great of late either - though I fancied them to get the better of Australia last weekend, defeat there means you have to go back to November 2010 for their last victory against one of the Wallabies, South Africa or New Zealand.

Coach Stuart Lancaster has responded to last week's defeat by the Aussies by making six changes, the most exciting of which is the introduction of Joe Launchbury as part of a pack showing four alterations.

The South African side, meanwhile, shows no changes with Heyneke Meyer keeping the faith in his men producing one last hurrah on tour.

That said, he has expressed concern, saying this week: "I am worried, mentally it has really been a long season."

He did, though, add: "These guys they will stand up for the challenge, they are warriors, they want to play for the country and for the guy next to them.

"I always believe with the mind there anything is possible."

Were this match at the start of the autumn series rather than the end, I'd be pretty happy backing the Springboks at odds-on and nothing I've seen in the two matches either side have played since - barring potential fatigue from the tourists, of course - has made me change my mind.

The layers are torn, though, with some making England marginal favourites, some making them outsiders and some pricing up 10/11 each of two.

For me South Africa in the outrights is too big a price and that's my call on this one - but if memories of Port Elizabeth burn bright and you want the draw onside, you can get the Boks plus a point at 10/11.

Ireland get the weekend under way as they face Argentina (1400 BST kick-off)

Unsurprisingly they've reverted to almost exactly the side beaten by South Africa a fortnight ago after the non-cap international with Fiji last weekend.

They came out second best against the Boks, of course, but gave them a good going-over and they'll have to find the same level against the Pumas.

They followed up their impressive defeat of Wales by losing in France last time out, but they emerged with credit after racing into a 13-3 lead.

The concern - after Argentina's first season in the Rugby Championship - has to be fatigue, particularly the way France ultimately eased to victory over them.

I had this down as an Ireland win by around the six-point mark while pulling together my thoughts - and that's how the layers see it too so I'll leave it alone.

With England's game next to kick-off at 1430, Scotland are the third of the British teams out as they host Tonga in a game starting at 1500.

And they're looking for the first win of their autumn series after back-to-back defeats by New Zealand and South Africa so far.

There's clearly no disgrace in that and they finished against the Boks much better than they started, which must bode well for this weekend's game.

Let's be honest, it's hard to see anything but a Scotland win in this one BUT don't forget Tonga did beat France at the World Cup.

If you must have a bet, you can get try machine Tim Visser at 10/11 to score anytime for the Scots but I'll give this one a swerve from a betting perspective with handicaps of around 15 looking in the right sort of area to me.

As if things weren't going badly enough for Wales, they welcome the New Zealand juggernaut to Cardiff on Saturday night.

At the start of the autumn series, I'd wager there were few people who would have predicted back-to-back Wales defeats against Argentina and Samoa.

The problem now is they enter games against New Zealand and Australia - tough enough as it is - with the pressure already on.

There has been a good deal of positivity coming out of the camp this week following the return of coach Warren Gatland to the fray, but he'll have to really work the oracle if he's to mastermind a win over his countrymen.

An outright price of 11/1 on the Wales victory illustrates that clearly, as do handicaps in the All Blacks' favour in the region of 18.

You have to go back to 1953 for the last Wales victory over New Zealand and the last three games - in 2010 - were won by an average margin of 21.33.

That suggests the handicaps posted are in the right region - and the best approach to me looks to be on the anytime tryscorer markets.

The All Blacks are generally good value for a few tries - in their last five they've scored 7-4-0-6-5 with the blank an 18-18 draw against Australia.

It's certainly fair to say Wales are looking susceptible and with the handicaps as they are, the layers are expecting at least three tries from them on Saturday.

Centres have had their fair share of joy against the Welsh of late, with four of the last six tries conceded by the men in red coming from the 12/13 axis.

And that means my immediate focus falls on Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith.

Nonu has scored three in his last four games for the ABs, while Smith - who I've always thought slips under the radar a little - has two in his last three.

You can get Nonu at 15/8 and Smith at 9/4 and I'll have a little play on both.


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