Our event of the day is the Autumn International fixture between England and South Africa at Twickenham. This first game of the Autumn Internationals should be a thriller. With less than a year to the Rugby World Cup in Japan, these matches will be crucial to establishing international form. It is sure to be an exciting match between two evenly matched teams. England would be happy if they could forget their overall 2018 performance so far. They started the year defeating Italy and Wales in their opening fixtures of the Six Nations. However they collapsed and proceeded to lose to Scotland, France and Ireland to finish the tournament in 5th position. They lost their next fixture in May, falling 63-45 to the Barbarians before embarking on a three-game tour of South Africa. They extended their losing streak to six games as they lost the first two games of the tour. However, they come into today’s fixture having won their most recent international fixture, the final game of their South African tour. The upcoming stint of Autumn Internationals will be especially important for Eddie Jones’ side. With the Rugby World Cup just under a year away, these games may be important in deciding England’s performance there. The 2002 Autumn Internationals saw England defeat South Africa, New Zealand and Australia before they went on to win the 2003 Ruby World Cup. Meanwhile, mixed performances in 2010 and 2014 preceded a quarter-finals and group stage exit from the 2011 and 2015 World Cups respectively.
South Africa have had an encouraging year. Their two wins against England were a positive start to their season but the highlight was their 36-34 victory against the All Blacks in Wellington, New Zealand. They were so close to backing up that result with another victory against the All Blacks but narrowly lost 32-30 in Pretoria, despite leading 30-13 at one stage. Coach Rassie Erasmus is confident confident ahead of today’s game and has made seven changes to the team that last played in Pretoria, he has announced a squad full of size and power. South Africa are hungry for victory and will be desperate to defeat England at Twickenham - it should be a great game.
Honourable mentions around the globe to the Premier League, where Arsenal host Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium. Liverpool come into the game still without a loss in domestic play this season. They boast a record of 8 wins and 2 draws and sit in 2nd position in the leage behind Manchester City. However, Arsenal are not far behind them and they have only lost two games this season and sit in 4th position. All eyes will be on North London to see if Liverpool can continue their winning ways or if Arsenal will be the team to end Liverpool’s domestic streak. Elsewhere, in the NBA, the struggling Lakers look to bounce back from a poor season start as they face the Portland Trailblazers at the Moda Center. At the PGA Turkish Airlines Open, Justin Rose looks to continue his strong performance at the competition as he hopes to defend his 2017 title. In NCAA college football, Alabama looks to continue their unbeaten season in an SEC rivalry game against LSU. In MMA, UFC 230 takes place with Daniel Cormier looking to defend his heavyweight title against Derrick Lewis.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by England Rugby; South Africa Rugby
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