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England Enter RWC Final vs South Africa as Sizable -215 Favorites After Impressive Win Over New Zealand

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in Rugby

Oct 30, 2019 · 10:49 AM PDT

England rugby team sings national anthem
England, which failed to advance past the group stage four years ago, are -215 favorites to beat South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final. Photo by: Diallo25 [Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.]
  • Sportsbooks list England as -215 favorites to beat South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final
  • The English won the 2003 RWC
  • South Africa has wins in the 1995 and 2007 RWC, beating England 15-6 in the 2007 final

Four years ago at the Rugby World Cup, England was home, and cooled out early. South Africa’s hearts were broken one step shy of the final.

Four years later, they will clash for all the marbles in the RWC final in Japan this Saturday (Nov. 2, 5:15 AM ET).

England, 2003 RWC champions, are established as the -215 favorites following the stunning 19-7 semifinal win over two-time defending champion New Zealand.

England vs South Africa RWC Final Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total Odds
England -4.5 (-125) -215 36.5 (-120)
South Africa +4.5 (EVEN) +175 36.5 (-120)
Draw N/A +2100 N/A

Odds taken Oct. 29.

South Africa captured the RWC title in 1995 and again in 2007. That 2007 triumph was fashioned via a 15-6 win over then-defending champion England in the final.

Journey Of Redemption For England

Host country of the 2015 RWC, England held high hopes for success. However, pool play losses to Wales and Australia sent the English packing without advancing through the group phase of the tournament. A host side not reaching the quarterfinals was a tournament first.

There was no indication that redemption was in the cards for England in Japan. At the Six Nations tournament earlier this year, England lost 21-13 to Wales and was held to a 38-38 draw by Scotland.

The English went 3-0 in RWC pool play, though. England’s match with France was wiped out by Typhoon Hagibis.

England entered the knockout stage of the competition as the third-favorite in the 2019 Rugby World Cup odds at +440, trailing both New Zealand and South Africa.

Once the knockout stage started, the English really flexed their muscles. They dismantled Australia 40-16 in the quarterfinals. Then they pulled off the shock result of the tourney, taking the match to the All Blacks from the start and coming away with a decisive 19-7 verdict.

It was New Zealand’s first RWC defeat since 2007.

South Africa Still #2?

At the launch of the RWC, New Zealand and South Africa clashed in their pool play opener. New Zealand won 23-13 in what many pundits billed as a RWC final preview. Turns out they were only half right, and certainly not the half most would’ve expected.

The South Africans have been the second betting choice for most of the tournament. That hasn’t changed – only the team that’s now favored is different, England taking the place of the All Blacks.

Semifinalists in 2015, the Springboks did little to inspire with their 26-3 quarterfinal win over the host Japanese. In a 19-16 semifinal win against an injury-depleted Wales, the South African approach to the match was ugly, bordering on cynical. This affair wasn’t a game as much as it was a war of attrition.

One publication referred to it as an unsexy armwrestle.

The Roses Will Win The War

Both South Africa and England can play brick wall defense. Where England has the edge is in its explosive ability to attack and rise up in a combination of speed, brutality and power. It was this combination that overwhelmed the All Blacks. The English attack with an abrupt quickness that often catches the opponent off guard.

South Africa looks to be a one-trick pony that relies on stout defense for survival, while waiting for the opponent to make a mistake. It will help that speedy winger Cheslin Kolbe will return after missing the semifinal with an ankle injury but it won’t be enough.

The English have steadily improved and our playing their best rugby when it matters most.

Pick: England (-215)

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