South Africa v England: Springboks can seal series success with tight win

England boss Eddie Jones
Eddie Jones' England side have lost five successive games
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Simon Mail previews the second Test and expects another thrilling clash after South Africa edged to victory over England in the opener...

"With England's recent run of defeats and South Africa's momentum from last weekend's victory, the hosts are worthy favourites. The Springboks have won three of the last four meetings and only lost one of the last 14 clashes."

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

England desperate to end run of defeats

England have it all to do if they are to win a series in South Africa for the first time after last week's dramatic 42-39 defeat. Eddie Jones' side have lost their last four Tests and five successive matches, including the non-cap home defeat to the Barbarians, so there is a desperate need for positive results as the months tick down to next year's World Cup.

The visitors could not have asked for a better start to last week's first Test at Ellis Park with tries from Mike Brown, Elliot Daly and Owen Farrell put England into a commanding 24-3 lead early on. But four tries from the Springboks turned the contest around to hand the hosts a 29-27 half-time lead.

South Africa stretched their lead in the second half which meant late tries from Maro Itoje and Jonny May could not prevent another England defeat. Jones emphasised the positives of England's attacking play in the game but this could not mask another loss as their defensive problems and lack of discipline again proved costly.

Spring in step of Springboks after dramatic victory

It was a huge result for the Springboks with new head coach Rassie Erasmus claiming his first victory in charge. The confidence and belief the players, especially the debutants and new captain Siya Kolisi, will have gained from their successful comeback against England could be very significant in the rest of the series and as the side rebuild ahead of the World Cup in Japan.

South Africa prop Tendai Mtawarira will make his 100th Test appearance in Saturday's match, becoming only the sixth Springbok to manage this feat. Erasmus makes two changes to the victorious side with forwards Frans Malherbe, who has recovered from injury, and Pieter-Steph du Toit replacing the rested Wilco Louw and Jean-Luc du Preez.

England make two changes to the side beaten in Johannesburg with New Zealand-born Brad Shields handed his first start after coming off the bench for his debut last weekend. Blindside flanker Shields' promotion means Chris Robshaw is dropped from the squad. Joe Launchbury has recovered from his calf injury and returns to the second row in place of Nick Isiekwe while Danny Cipriani, who won his last cap in 2015, is a creative option from the bench.

With England's recent run of defeats and South Africa's momentum from last weekend's victory, the hosts are worthy favourites. The Springboks have won three of the last four meetings and only lost one of the last 14 clashes. England's indiscipline is likely to hold them back again and South Africa can punish them. Their last six wins over England have been by no more than ten points so a narrow win looks excellent value at 5/2.

In last week's game, Sibusiso Nkosi enjoyed a sparkling debut with the winger scoring two tries. The 22-year-old's pace and natural finishing ability caused England major problems and he showed no signs of nerves on the big stage. Nkosi continues in the backline for the Springboks in Bloemfontein and looks worth backing to score another try and punish the visitors this weekend.

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

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