2 Nov 2019

Rugby World Cup: England vs South Africa head to head

4:31 pm on 2 November 2019

Before England and South Africa battle it out for Rugby World Cup supremacy, RNZ has broken down the numbers separating the two sides.

England vs South Africa graphic for Rugby World Cup

Photo: Photosport / Suneil Narsai

On Saturday night the two sides play in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final at International Stadium in Yokohama - South Africa is aiming for its third World Cup title to go with its 1995 and 2007 wins, while England is trying to claim its second to go alongside it's 2003 victory.

In total, the two sides have played 42 times in their history - 25 of those have gone the way of the Springboks and 15 to England, two have been draws.

The first match was one of those two draws - a 3-3 result at Crystal Palace back in 1906.

England vs South Africa graphic for Rugby World Cup.

Photo: Photosport / Suneil Narsai

South Africa won the next four encounters from 1913 to 1961, all at Twickenham, and all low scoring affairs - the highest score out of those matches was 9-3 in 1913.

England's first win came in 1969 at Twickenham, beating the Springboks 11-8 at Twickenham.

Then, in 1972, in the first match between the two sides in South Africa - at Ellis Park in Johannesburg - England won 18-9.

England's longest winning period over South Africa ran from June 2000 to November 2006 - winning seven matches in a row. The biggest win was a 53-3 win at Twickenham in 2002.

South Africa's longest win streak over England, meanwhile, was from November 2006 to November 2014 - winning 11 matches and drawing once in Port Elizabeth in 2012.

England vs South Africa graphic for Rugby World Cup.

Photo: Photosport / Suneil Narsai

In the last five matches, England have won three of the encounters and South Africa two - the most recent being a 12-11 win to England at Twickenham in 2018.

At World Cups, the two sides have played each other four times; once in 1999 in the quarterfinals which South Africa won 44-21, once in 2003 during the pool stage which England won 25-6, and twice in 2007, the first was a 36-0 win to South Africa in the pool stages and then the Springboks beat England again in the final 15-6.

South Africa's largest scoreline against England was a 58-10 win in 2007 at Bloemfontein.

England's biggest win was that 53-3 win at Twickenham in 2002.

Across the 42 matches, South Africa have scored 887 points at an average of 21 points per game, compared to England's 717 points at an average of 17 points per game.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.