I am expecting revenge for 2007 in the Rugby World Cup final we lost against South Africa this Saturday.
This England team at the moment have the best pack in the world. If you break it down – we have the best front-row in the world, the best second-row and the best back-row. At this point we have the best of each row in the pack.
The Kamikaze Kids – Sam Underhill and Tom Curry – give England a huge advantage, and that will be telling on Saturday having breakdown specialists.
Nick Easter (second from right) believes England will get revenge for the 2007 World Cup final
South Africa ran out winners in Paris but England will get a chance at revenge out in Japan
I don’t think Rassie Erasmus will change anything for South Africa – he won’t drop the captain Siya Kolisi, Pieter Steph du Toit or Duane Vermeulen – so I see another field-day for our boys on the ground.
We have got ball carriers who are ball players – the likes of Kyle Sinckler, Mako Vunipola and Billy Vunipola have hands like centres as well as power.
South Africa will be physical, but when you’re moving the point of attack with the ball and you’re getting front-foot ball with it it doesn’t matter how good your defence is, you’re going to struggle.
Because South Africa have such big lumps their lineout isn’t overly complicated – they tend to use their locks more and just try and beat teams for height.
‘Kamikaze Kids’ Sam Underhill (left) and Tom Curry (centre) can make the difference in the final
South Africa have been criticised for their style at the Rugby World Cup – but they don’t care
That’ll be an area England’s lineout guru Steve Borthwick will target.
I respect the Boks hugely – they can move the ball – but all I have seen is centre Damian De Allende crashing it up and a maul from the Boks.
Our defence is just as strong as theirs, our attack is as good as anyone’s in the world, and so it comes to the top two inches. Who is going to crack first? John Mitchell has been huge for England working on the defence – before he came in England shipped 60 to the Barbarians and 40 in the first Test in South Africa.
England have more players who have played in big games than they have. South Africa will perceive themselves to be underdogs – that’s a dangerous proposition.
South Africa can mix the brute force with an expansive style, but I can’t see it happening because they’ve shown none of that at this World Cup and it’s a six-day turnaround.
Rassie is very pragmatic, he will go with tried and tested, will rev up his forwards and make it about the physical stakes.
The physicality thing is true, but it is slightly over-done. We have huge athletes and big boys as well.
SQUADS FOR THE 2007 RUGBY WORLD CUP FINAL IN PARIS
FB 15 Jason Robinson
RW 14 Paul Sackey
OC 13 Mathew Tait
IC 12 Mike Catt
LW 11 Mark Cueto
FH 10 Jonny Wilkinson
SH 9 Andy Gomarsall
N8 8 Nick Easter
OF 7 Lewis Moody
BF 6 Martin Corry
RL 5 Ben Kay
LL 4 Simon Shaw
TP 3 Phil Vickery (c)
HK 2 Mark Regan
LP 1 Andrew Sheridan
HK 16 George Chuter
PR 17 Matt Stevens
N8 18 Lawrence Dallaglio
FL 19 Joe Worsley
SH 20 Peter Richards
FH 21 Toby Flood
CE 22 Dan Hipkiss
Coach: Brian Ashton
FB 15 Percy Montgomery
RW 14 JP Pietersen
OC 13 Jaque Fourie
IC 12 François Steyn
LW 11 Bryan Habana
FH 10 Butch James
SH 9 Fourie du Preez
N8 8 Danie Rossouw
BF 7 Juan Smith
OF 6 Schalk Burger
RL 5 Victor Matfield
LL 4 Bakkies Botha
TP 3 CJ van der Linde
HK 2 John Smit (c)
LP 1 Os du Randt
HK 16 Bismarck du Plessis
PR 17 Jannie du Plessis
LK 18 Johann Muller
FL 19 Wikus van Heerden
SH 20 Ruan Pienaar
FH 21 Andre Pretorius
CE 22 Wynand Olivier
Coach: Jake White
Easter (centre, pictured in 2007) believes England’s current crop have big-game experience
Boks head coach Rassie Erasmus will stick with tried and tested when his side face England
South Africa’s limited, combative style was highlighted in their semi-final win over Wales
Traditionally England, South Africa and France produce the biggest lumps. That hasn’t changed.
What they do have – whether you are an amateur or a Springbok – is a willingness to hit people hard. An in-built aggression across the board.
To be honest, it’s to their detriment though. I have coached the Sharks in two Currie Cups and then in Super Rugby too. It was brilliant. Rugby is rugby – it’s not a different sport over there as much as people try to make it out.
We tried to play more of an expansive style at the Sharks – the Bulls and the Stormers do more what South Africa do, no rugby in your own half.
We tried to move the ball into space and keep it alive without forgetting the roots.
South Africa haven’t been easy on the eye at this World Cup and I don’t see that changing. In six days you can’t change much.
Rassie is a wily coach and he’s forward-orientated. When you only had to put two front-rowers on the bench, he would put three on there just to have an extra forward.
Eddie Jones has set out England’s destiny since their shock elimination back at home in 2015
Easter, who has experience as a player and a coach, believes England can control the contest
It’s been disappointing in the World Cup that they’ve not played more of an expansive style, but you can’t complain if it takes you to a final.
If England play with the composure they’ve shown they will control the game. They just seem mentally and physically on it.
I just feel it is their destiny, what Eddie Jones has set out for them. You can see that hurt from the last tournament (which I was involved in at the end) sits with a lot of them as well.
I hope they complete the job. I won’t be able to deal with all the texts coming through from the Sharks boys if they don’t win!