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Erasmus expects physical England despite injuries

This will be the fourth meeting of 2018 between the two nations after South Africa won the three-Test series 2-1 at home in June.

FILE: Rassie Erasmus. Picture: @Springboks/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus says his side are bracing for a physical battle in their first European Tour assignment against Eddie Jones’ England at Twickenham on Saturday.

This will be the fourth meeting of 2018 between the two nations after South Africa won the three-Test series 2-1 at home in June. England had missed key players in that series which included Captain Dylan Hartley, but they are faced with more injuries this time around, with influential personnel missing from their ranks.

England will be without the Vunipola brothers, Billy and Mako who provide a crucial physical edge to their game plan, while lock Joe Launchbury will also be out of action for several weeks due to injury.

Erasmus believes despite the injuries the English are facing, they still possess a physical edge over his team.

“There is always talk of us being the physical team but really they are extremely physical, they do really well in the set phases, mauling, scrumming and they are very physical on defense.”

“I think it is a big myth that we are this big physical South African side, England’s pack of forwards are just as big and physical, so we are going to have to contend with that this Saturday.”

Despite being wary of England’s physicality up front, Erasmus is also concerned about the dynamism in the backline.

“Danny Cipriani was fantastic against us in the last game we played against them, he brought something new to their game and Ford and Farrell next to each other brings a lot of experience for them and they can vary their game very well.”

The Springboks will undoubtedly field a different looking team to the side that was narrowly edged by the All Blacks at Loftus in their final Rugby Championship match earlier in the month, with a host of overseas-based player unavailable for selection during the three-Test tour of Europe.