Opta Sports’ facts for the World Cup final between the Springboks and England on Saturday (11:00 SA time).
– England have won back to back Tests against South Africa, this after registering just one victory in their 15 matches against the Springboks immediately before this run (drawn one, lost 13).
– If England win this match, they will become the first side to beat Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in the same edition of the World Cup; in fact, only Argentina have faced each of the traditional Tri-Nations teams at an edition of the tournament, losing all three such matches in 2015.
– The Boks have won three of their previous four World Cup matches against England (lost one), conceding just one try across those four games; their last clash in the tournament was the 2007 final, which South Africa won 15-6.
– The Boks have reached the final of the World Cup for a third time, winning both of their previous two appearances (1995, 2007); this year, however, they are aiming to become the first side to lose a pool match and go on to win the World Cup.
– Both of South Africa’s previous World Cup finals have been tryless affairs (15-12 vs New Zealand in 1995, 15-6 vs England in 2007).
– This is the fourth time England have reached the World Cup final, no side has done this more often (Australia and New Zealand also four times), they lost in 1991 and 2007 but triumphed in 2003.
– England and South Africa will clash in a World Cup final for the second time, New Zealand vs France and Australia vs England are the only other fixtures to be played twice in the showpiece event.
– As a result of their cancelled fixture against France, England are the second team to play in a World Cup final without coming up against European opposition at any point in the tournament, after Les Bleus themselves in 1999.
– England are one of just four sides yet to receive a card of either colour at this World Cup (also Japan, Scotland, and Tonga).
– England have won an average of 9.6 turnovers per match at the 2019 World Cup, the most of any side in the tournament.
– The Boks have the best lineout success rate (98%) of any side at this World Cup; they had a 100% rate before losing one in their semi-final clash with Wales (62/63).
– The Boks have won 33 of their 35 World Cup games in which they have led at the break (lost two), their last such defeat coming in the 2015 semi-final against New Zealand (also vs Japan in 2015).
– Owen Farrell (89) needs 11 points to become the second player to reach 100 World Cup points for England after Jonny Wilkinson (277); he averages 10.3 points per game against South Africa (103 in 10 games).
– Winger Jonny May needs one try to equal Jason Robinson on 28 tries for England, the joint fifth-most for the country; he’s scored four tries in six previous matches against South Africa, no England player has more against the Boks (level with Will Greenwood).
– England lock Maro Itoje has won more turnovers (10) than any other player at the 2019 World Cup and twice as many as any Bok player has managed (Damian de Allende five).
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) October 27, 2019
– Fullback Elliot Daly and flank Tom Curry are both yet to miss a single minute of England’s 2019 World Cup campaign (400 minutes each), the only players to do so; Bok centre Damian de Allende (407) is one of just three players to play more minutes than them (also Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams).
– England flank Sam Underhill has made the fifth-most tackles (62) of any player at this tournament, he’s made the most sack tackles (nine).
– England centre Manu Tuilagi has scored six tries this year, no other player in Test rugby has scored as many in 2019 while playing at centre; however, he’s never scored in four previous matches against the Boks.
– Flyhalf Handré Pollard (140) has scored the most points at the World Cup of any Springbok and the joint seventh-most of any player overall; he’s never scored a try at the tournament, though, only Grant Fox (170) has scored more points at the World Cup without ever crossing for a try.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 28, 2019
– Bok winger Makazole Mapimpi already has 13 tries in just 13 Tests, including nine in his last seven appearances.
– Bok flank Siya Kolisi is set to win his 50th cap, it will also be his 20th appearance as captain, only six men have led South Africa more often in Test rugby.
– Frans Steyn has won each of his 16 World Cup matches with South Africa, no one has played as many matches at the tournament without losing at least once, while only Sam Whitelock (18) and Sonny Bill Williams (17) have recorded longer winning runs at the tournament.
Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix