South Africa v England: Springboks could add to visitors' problems

England captain Owen Farrell
Owen Farrell will lead England during the series in South Africa
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Simon Mail previews the first Test between South Africa and England with doubts remaining over England's prospects after their losing run...

"South Africa should be encouraged by their record against England with only one defeat in the last 13 meetings. England have never won a Test series in South Africa and have only managed three away victories in the country with the last coming in 2000."

South Africa v England
Saturday, 16:05
Live on Sky Sports Action

Pressure on England after losing run

The brilliance of Eddie Jones' England during his first two years in charge seems a distant memory after the disappointment of their Six Nations campaign this year. England head into this summer's three Test series in South Africa, this weekend's opener takes place in Johannesburg, with plenty of questions to answer and little more than a year to prepare for the World Cup in Japan.

After back-to-back Six Nations titles, England had to endure the misery of watching Ireland clinch the Grand Slam after winning at Twickenham in March. It was their third successive loss and England were then beaten 63-45 at home to the Barbarians - albeit with a much-changed team missing internationals from Premiership finalists Saracens and Exeter.

Jones has brought in attack coach Scott Wisemantel for this summer's tour and the Australian will have to replace defence coach Paul Gustard following the series after he was confirmed as Harlequins' new head of rugby. This upheaval is far from ideal for England although it could be argued the group needed a shakeup after their downturn in form this year.

Saracens forward Nick Isiekwe makes his first England start and partners club team-mate Maro Itoje in the second row with Joe Launchbury missing out due to a calf injury. Sale openside flanker Tom Curry wins his second cap while Owen Farrell has been handed the captaincy. New Zealand forward Brad Shields, who qualifies through his parents, is in line to make his debut after being named as a replacement.

Fresh start for Springboks

It is all change for South Africa after Rassie Erasmus was brought in to replace Allister Coetzee following a wretched run by the Springboks. His task is to revive their fortunes and build some momentum heading into next year's World Cup. Erasmus handed seven uncapped players their first Test start in last weekend's 22-20 defeat to Wales in Washington.

Erasmus has named a completely different side to the one beaten by Wales with forward Siya Kolisi taking over as South Africa's new captain. Wingers S'busiso Nkosi and Aphiwe Dyantyi make their debut while lock RG Snyman is also given his first Test start for the Springboks. Full-back Willie Le Roux and scrum-half Faf de Klerk both feature for the first time since 2016.

South Africa should be encouraged by their record against England with only one defeat in the last 13 meetings. England have never won a Test series in South Africa and have only managed three away victories in the country with the last coming in 2000. History is not on the visitors' side although England have accomplished notable success abroad under Jones including a first series triumph in Australia two years ago.

The hosts are marginal favourites for this match but there appear to be enough doubts against both teams to swerve this market. South Africa should benefit from their new coach although it could take time for Erasmus' ideas to be implemented. England can be backed at 6/5 which may look a generous price but Jones' side have not played well for a while and wins have been hard to come by in South Africa.

A better bet could be to back Elliot Daly to score for England. The Wasps talent starts at full-back in this match and this should give him the freedom to cause the Springboks major problems. Daly's pace and trickery is a huge threat and the 25-year-old has scored three tries in his last two games for England. Even if the visitors are beaten, tries look likely in an attacking team selection and Daly is fancied to score at Ellis Park.

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

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