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5 of the most memorable past meetings between England and South Africa

England are bidding to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a second time.

South Africa won the 2007 World Cup final against England, with Springboks captain John Smith lifting the trophy (David Davies/PA)
South Africa won the 2007 World Cup final against England, with Springboks captain John Smith lifting the trophy (David Davies/PA)

By PA Sport Staff

England will face South Africa in the World Cup final at the International Stadium Yokohama on Saturday.

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The Springboks hold the upper hand in the head-to-head record between the two countries, winning 25 of 42 matches and drawing twice.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look back at five of the most memorable previous encounters.

1999: South Africa 44 England 21

Jannie De Beer (right) helped dump England out of the 1999 World Cup (Phil Noble/PA)

Springbok fly-half Jannie De Beer kicked 34 points, including a world record five drop goals, as the reigning World Cup champions destroyed England in their quarter-final at the Stade de France in Paris. South Africa went on to finish third in the competition after losing to eventual winners Australia in the last four.

2000: South Africa 22 England 27

Before a 25-10 success in Cape Town in June 2018, England’s only other victory on South African soil during the past 25 years came in Bloemfontein. Fly-half Jonny Wilkinson slotted eight penalties and a drop-goal as Clive Woodward’s side claimed a series-levelling win from a pulsating second Test at the Free State Stadium.

2007: England 6 South Africa 15

England suffered World Cup final disappointment against South Africa in 2007 (John Giles/PA)

Far from a classic, the only previous World Cup final meeting between the sides was decided with the boot as South Africa ended England’s reign as world champions in Paris. The Springboks, who hammered their opponents 36-0 in the pool stage, won the tournament for the second time thanks to four penalties from Percy Montgomery and another from Francois Steyn.

2016: England 37 South Africa 21

Current captain Owen Farrell (left) was among the try scorers when England made it 10 successive wins under Eddie Jones in 2016 (Mike Egerton/PA)

England stretched their perfect record under Eddie Jones to 10 matches at a rain-soaked Twickenham. The hosts had failed to beat the Springboks in their previous 12 meetings over 10 years but – after a Six Nations Grand Slam in the spring and a whitewash of Australia in the summer – the autumn internationals began with more history being made.

2018: South Africa 42 England 39

Rassie Erasmus’ first win as South Africa head coach came against England (Ian Rutherford/PA)

England lost their fourth Test in a row as South Africa launched an astonishing fightback at Ellis Park to give head coach Rassie Erasmus a first victory since replacing Allister Coetzee. Jones’ men raced into a 24-3 lead in Johannesburg. But the Springboks turned it around to lead 29-27 at the break before a late Handre Pollard penalty proved decisive to put Erasmus’ side on course for series win.



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