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Rugby World Cup Final Predictions!

Here we are at the final stage of what has been a wonderful World Cup, made so by the Japanese hosting of the occasion as much as - or possibly more so than - the quality of Rugby on show.

Before we get to the main event, the ultimate showpiece for our sport, we must first address the Bronze final, the match nobody wants to play in.



New Zealand v Wales

I fear that this is going to be a disaster for Wales. Weary and beset by a raft of injuries, Warren Gatland has selected some players as the 'last ones standing' in his squad, as they take to the field against the All Blacks.

Having ridden their luck to some extent, never playing particularly convincingly but merely pointing to the results as they kept on winning, it feels a little as though the bubble has burst as Gatland prepares to leave his role.

Where Wales have brought in the likes of Hallam Amos, Owen Lane and Adam Beard, New Zealand have been able to call on Ben Smith, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill-Williams and Rieko Ioane. It's arguably a stronger team than the one that Hansen picked for the semi-final against England, given the experience that some of those players will bring, and I think they are going to run riot. New Zealand by 28



England v South Africa

What a brilliant prospect for the final, and we're guaranteed a different winner of the tournament for the first time in 12 years - and in fact, this is a repeat of that final 12 years ago, won 15-6 by the Springboks in Paris.

But this time, England start as favourites after THAT performance against the All Blacks last weekend, and having warmed up by dispatching Argentina, Australia and New Zealand in their last three fixtures. By contrast, South Africa has faced Canada, Japan and Wales en route to the final, and you can only play what's in front of you, of course, but some people believe that a battle-hardened team would stand a better chance at the business end of the tournament.

The Springboks have been one-dimensional so far, playing to their traditional strengths with a monstrous pack and an excellent kick-chase game. It's not dissimilar to the style of play that saw them lift the trophy in 2007, but up against Eddie Jones' England, you wonder if it will be enough.

You also wonder if there's not something else being held in reserve, such has been the Springboks' relatively straightforward route to the final. Is there a gameplan stashed away by Rassie Erasmus for when they really need it? Playing a simple game is enough to beat a plucky Japan and a depleted Wales in the knockout stages, so why not keep something in reserve for the final?

South African fans will certainly be hoping so, because England won't be intimidated by the physical confrontation, they have their own outstanding defence, and enough firepower to launch a counter-attack or two from any poor kicking from hand. Neutrals might be hoping so too, because nobody wants to see a repeat of that second semi-final last Sunday.

Frankly, if England come anywhere near replicating their all-court performance from last weekend, they will lift the trophy. There are plenty of ball-carriers up front, and more ball-players than in previous England sides, whilst out wide the twin playmakers execute a smart kicking strategy without being afraid to run the ball if the opportunity arises. Sam Underhill and Tom Curry have formed an effective partnership in the back row, delivering the quick ball on which fly-half George Ford can thrive.

If South Africa can compete at the breakdown, slow down England's possession and force the pack into reverse gear, they'll put pressure on Ford and might well gain the upper hand. But South Africa's back row won't be as effective in the loose as Underhill and Curry, with Francois Louw only making the bench for the Springboks, and I think the game will be won here.

As I said in my article before the semi-final, we know England have a huge game in them, but we haven't seen it consistently enough to expect it regularly, and perhaps it's only that sense of the unexpected that has caught out Ireland and New Zealand this year.

But the Rugby World Cup climax seems like as good a time as any to dig deep and pull out your best performance, and I'm backing Eddie Jones to prepare his team to do just that. I suspect they'll get their noses in front, kick their goals and rely on their defence to see things out. England by 8

Let me know what you think! I am actually going to South Africa next week, so if the Springboks win, I'll buy a green jersey and share a photo.
4,416 caps
I totally agree that Wales is in for a big punishment from NZ and seeing that it's Read and Hansen's final game I believe it will be a proper send off for the two of the, who knows maybe Read will get that drop kick in after all.... BUT I feel that the Springboks is going to take this one and as you said Hutch England definitely have a big game in them but I believed that game was played against NZ Bokke by 8 #GOBOKKE
31 Oct 11:22
48 caps
South Africa by 12
31 Oct 12:26
4,871 caps
Can't we just cancel Friday to get to Saturday!!!!
Bokke by 4 - GO BOKKE!!!
31 Oct 12:36
792 caps
Bokke!!! met 3 al die pad!! 31 Oct 13:37
48 caps
Everything in me wants the cup to return home again. And although i think we have the players to win, i think our gameplan might be problem this weekend. Bokke by 3
31 Oct 13:42
12,018 caps
ENG 13
31 Oct 14:09
17,222 caps
England have selected the same side that was victorious against NZ, so we know what they'll be bringing to the table - I can't see the Boks competing with their kicking and running style - ENG by 14.

Lucky you going over there - have a great time!
31 Oct 14:34
1,632 cap
Lets support the Boks all the way and believe in them. Boks by 8
31 Oct 14:41
4,110 caps
This is a tuff nut to crack. My head says England my 19, my heart says 'Boks. Will make a final decision half an hour before kick off 'Boks by how much?????????????
31 Oct 14:56
48 caps
Mmm..... difficult one. My head says England, my heart says Bokke.
31 Oct 15:47
19,297 caps
think the AB's by plenty even if Wales are competitive. I think the way the Boks can win is by not being too predictable. Box kicks sure, but mix it up a bit, mainly to keep the English guessing somewhat. I think Rassie has something up his sleeve for this. Three other things are important I feel, first, don't give away too much possession (goes with the mixing it up) second, make sure Pollard, Kolbe and Mapimpi get into the game as much as possible and third, limit the penalties to an absolute minimum and do not get binned at all. The semi final proves we can withstand the tense finish its likely to be - not sure if England can. Boks by 4
31 Oct 15:51
1,281 cap
You were 100% right Timmy....except the score difference..well predicted! 4 Nov 12:15
3,345 caps
South Africa by 4
31 Oct 17:14
3,345 caps
England is not gonna perform like they did last week.
31 Oct 17:15
1,237 cap
Bokke 4 life
31 Oct 17:33
1,205 cap
Eish!!! Heart or rugby brain? Lets go heart. Bokke with 7
31 Oct 18:58
England by 6 just because I'm English
31 Oct 19:33
418 caps
Going with my heart...hoping the Bokke play with theirs . Bokke by 8
31 Oct 20:21
2,461 caps
This is going to be an epic battle. We saw what England can do, hopefully it will not be a repeat from last week. SA by 2. Go Bokke!!!!!??????
31 Oct 20:25
4,944 caps
SA by 2. A drop goal will win it
31 Oct 22:21
So I have a bet with my South African mate. If England win, then he has to wear an England jersey for the whole day. If the bokkes win then vice versa ;-D
31 Oct 22:27
3,186 caps
Eish, that's a tough one, wearing an England strip for a whole day?
Where's the sportsman ship in that???? lol.... 1 Nov 09:21
Nz 17
Bokke 5
1 Nov 04:50
48 caps
you on another planet?
1 Nov 11:38
2,264 caps
Go Bokke! Bokke 15??????????????????
1 Nov 05:20
35,438 caps
I believe England played their final against the AB. Bokke by 6. AB to win the wooden spoon by a mile.
1 Nov 05:32
6,262 caps
Eng to pummel the bomb squad.The road to the final was far too easy for them this is the first proper test after they lost to NZ.
1 Nov 06:28
5,028 caps
Bokke by 1
1 Nov 06:39
England far too strong for a very ordinary SA outfit, it will be over by halftime!
1 Nov 06:54
1,714 cap
England by 5
1 Nov 07:39
1,213 cap
Go bokke ??????????
1 Nov 08:01
9 caps
South arfica 35-19
1 Nov 08:50
963 caps
Bokkie by 6
1 Nov 09:24
38 caps
England by 25. Too good
1 Nov 10:11
1,281 cap
Ouch!!! That must have hurt!!!!!!! 4 Nov 12:12
48 caps
your gonna wear the green and gold. RSA by 5
1 Nov 11:36
1,138 cap
Watson, May and Tuilagi will have too many wheels, should be a Try Fest for England.
Kolbe can't win it alone! England by 21!
1 Nov 11:40
1,138 cap
My Bad???
Hats Off to The Springboks, You were Massive. KEEP IT UP!!! 2 Nov 12:27
40 caps
England by 7
1 Nov 11:52
0 caps
SA is for sure winning
1 Nov 13:00
1,256 cap
Boks by 6
1 Nov 13:19
12,130 caps
ENGLAND by 6
1 Nov 14:04
2,412 caps
This time there will not be concentration camps to help the English win. The English will never win the Boks in a World Cup game because of the political history. Boks by 15.
1 Nov 14:17
6,262 caps
LOL!!@%$# its Rugby boet!!! 1 Nov 14:25
646 caps
I agree the Bok,s were one dimensional and their gameplan seems to be set in steamrolling the opposition. But!
Rassie and his team are not stupid and many think they are Baboons who follows the norm" But they forget that Rassie and his team are OLD BABOONS. And comes Saturday we will see a more polished game
South Africa by 12-15
1 Nov 14:19
6,262 caps
that is all they know buddy (stamp karretjie) mine is bigger than yours.Unable to create clear chances for their backline.Keep it with the big guys no hands,no skills nothing between the ears.That is the Bok way since forever!!!! 1 Nov 14:28
198 caps
If the Boks play anything like their last 3 matches, England will be champions.
1 Nov 15:10
19,569 caps
We will see what will happen , i knew Hutch would say England , he always picks the fav , we were always the underdogs . 2 Nov 06:24
6,841 caps
Not sure that Hutch will need to buy a green jersey, I'm hoping that envy will add all the colour he needs. 2 Nov 08:03
11 caps
Bokke met 12
2 Nov 08:52
0 caps
Booked by 5
2 Nov 08:54
0 caps
SA is gonna win this game
2 Nov 09:18
58 caps
daar kak almal van julle met julle klein scores van 2 of 3 bokke met 20!!!
2 Nov 18:09
1,281 cap
Hi Hutch.....By this time you're most probably on your way to SA a slight bit more wiser ....hope you can find a Bok jersey back here...By this time of course you will also be well aware that you were very wrong in most of your statements expect the one that the Boks might have to over more than shown in the buildup games to the final.....if you had analysed the Japanese game more carefully you would have seen the ominous signs that they can carry the ball too and the power of the scrum was ominous....Have a good time in SA bud.
4 Nov 12:09