What are England's chances against South Africa? Let's consult the Eddie Jones smile-o-meter


England play South Africa looking to notch up their first win against the Springboks for a decade.

The outlook is positive, South Africa have lost five of their last nine games, including an embarrassing 57-15 loss to the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship.

Eddie Jones seems pretty confident, saying the team needs to emulate Muhammad Ali and play a smarter game to combat strength with intelligent, heads-up rugby.

So how will England match up against South Africa? Let's check out the Eddie Jones' smile-o-meter.


Eben Etzebeth (Joe Giddens/PA)
(Joe Giddens/PA)

The South Africans love a hard-fought game of strength. Bodies on the line, giants like Eben Etzebeth, 'The Beast' Tendai Mtawarira and huge flanker Willem Alberts will make England work hard at the breakdown, scrum and lineout.

However, Courtney Lawes will be celebrating his 50th cap and the 27-year-old Northampton lock will also be calling the line-out. Captain Dylan Hartley will also bring a steadying presence to the forwards at hooker.

This experience at the head of what will probably be a forward-dominated game should steady the newcomers and give them the confidence to take dynamic, smart decisions in the face of South Africa's dominance at the breakdown.

We're going to give this one a six - Eddie is smiling but he's got some other stuff on his mind.

(Paul Harding/PA)
(Paul Harding/PA)


James Haskell (Nigel French/PA)
(Nigel French/PA)

England will be missing a few of their more experienced players for this match up, including back-rowers Maro Itoje, and James Haskell.

Although Tom Wood has been brought in to replace Haskell, it's hard to believe this won't affect England against the Springbok's powerful scrum offering and some much-needed guidance on the field for the host of young players selected for the game.

We're pretty confident that the experienced guys he has on the team like Hartley, Robshaw and the Vunipola brothers will guide the newer players to overcome the jitters - it's an eight.

(Andrew Matthews/PA)
(Andrew Matthews/PA)


(Claude Paris/AP)
(Claude Paris/AP)

Jones will be looking to get the backs working hard in this game, hoping that speed and dynamism will beat South Africa's pure brawn.

Wasp's Elliot Daly will get his first start at outside centre for England, replacing Jonathan Joseph. Jones may be hoping to take advantage of his speed and quick thinking to get past a heavy Springboks side. With Farrell by his side, the team will have both left and a right-boot kickers.

Anthony Watson's loss will be felt in the backs - he's off with a broken jaw - but Johnny May and Mike Brown will keep the play nice and wide.

Eddie's smile-o-meter is pretty high on this one - it's a nine.

(Andrew Matthews/PA)
(Andrew Matthews/PA)

Wet weather

(Steve Parsons/PA)
(Steve Parsons/PA)

The Springbok's selection of a heavy forward pack may well come to bear fruit if it's bucketing it down at Twickenham. England's more dynamic style may suffer if the team are forced to dig in at the trenches in a war of the forward packs.

Goodbye free-flowing play. Eddie might be a bit worried on this one - it's a two.

(David Davies/PA)
(David Davies/PA)

England's squad for Saturday
M Brown (Harlequins); M Yarde (Harlequins), E Daly (Wasps), O Farrell (Saracens), J May (Gloucester); G Ford (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester); M Vunipola (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton, capt), D Cole (Leicester), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), C Robshaw (Harlequins), T Wood (Northampton), B Vunipola (Saracens).

Replacements: J George (Saracens), J Marler (Harlequins), K Sinckler (Harlequins), D Attwood (Bath), N Hughes (Wasps), D Care (Harlequins), B Te'o (Worcester), J Joseph (Bath).