All you need to know ahead of ...

England v South Africa

When Joel Stransky dropped the winning goal in the World Cup final in Johannesburg in 1995, Tendai Mtawarira did not have a clue the game was going on. He was 700 miles away in Harare, and more interested in football.

"I was just a primary school kid in Zimbabwe back then," recalled the veteran Springbok loosehead who will pack down opposite Kyle Sinckler in Saturday's World Cup final. "I didn't watch rugby. I was playing soccer.

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"In 2007, though [when South Africa beat England in the final in Paris], I did watch and it was amazing, inspirational stuff.

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"To be part of a World Cup final is a dream come true for me. I have worked hard throughout my whole career to get here and I want to make it count." Mtawarira – or 'Beast' as he is universally known – will be one of South Africa's key players on Saturday. Aged 34, he may no longer be the physical specimen he once was. The rampaging runs have slowed a bit. The shouts of "Beeeaaast" as he drives over the gainline with two or three defenders hanging off him are marginally less frequent.

But there is a reason Rassie Erasmus keeps on picking him. Mtawarira weighs well over 18 stone, he is hugely powerful and technically gifted, more than capable of giving Kyle Sinckler nightmares on Saturday if the England tighthead is not on his game.

Just ask Phil Vickery. Mtawarira had only converted from the back row to prop a couple of years before the British & Irish Lions toured South Africa in 2009, having been spotted playing for Zimbabwe U19s by the Natal Sharks.

Tendai
Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira and teammates Bongi Mbonambi, Francois Louw and Siya Kolisi. Photo / Getty Images

Beast won the first test at Kings Park almost single-handedly, becoming something of a cult figure in the process. A decade on he has made well over 100 appearances.

Erasmus' plan will be to use his heavy front row of Mtawarira, Mongombeni Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe to sap England's energy before sending on his finishers.

Beast says he will give his opposite man the respect he deserves on Saturday, Sinckler having emerged as one of world rugby's best tightheads in the last two years.

But he will not be in the least bit fazed by facing a front row of Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and Sinckler. "They're playing great rugby," he said. "Mako and Kyle have really been performing well. They've definitely formed a great combination. It will be exciting to go up against them."

Mtawarira said the extra day off England enjoyed following their win over New Zealand on Saturday would "not make a massive difference". But he did reckon that the comprehensive manner of England's victory over the world champions made them marginal favourites.

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"I'd probably say so," he said. "They're playing really well. Their performance was brilliant. Maybe we're the underdogs.

"We are going to have to be at our best. They outplayed a really good team [in New Zealand]. We're going to have to be very physical. I think it's going to be a game for the big moments. It's all about who takes charge of those big moments."

Mtawarira will certainly not be taking a backwards step. Born and raised in Harare, his was a circuitous route to the top – via a full scholarship to renowned rugby nursery Peterhouse College, before, in quick succession, Zimbabwe U19s, the Natal Sharks and then the Springboks. And it has not been without its setbacks.

As South Africa's fortunes have risen and fallen over the last decade, so too his own form has dipped at times.

But he has been an unbelievably consistent presence on the international stage and has more than earned this shot at World Cup glory. He has faith.

South Africa and England are two-all in terms of games won over the last 18 months. But he said he paid no attention to those results, or to the fact that no country has ever won the World Cup having lost one of their pool games.

"What has happened in the past doesn't really count," he said. "England are playing great rugby and with confidence so it is going to be a big challenge for us. But it's all about grabbing those big moments out there. We know we'll have to play out of our skins to win on Saturday." - Telegraph Group Ltd

Springboks halfback Faf de Klerk is congratulated by Frans Steyn after the final whistle of the emifinal against Wales. Photo / Photosport
Springboks halfback Faf de Klerk is congratulated by Frans Steyn after the final whistle of the emifinal against Wales. Photo / Photosport

Match details:

Saturday, November 2, 10pm (NZ time), International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama City.

Referee: Jerome Garces (France)

Squads:
England: 15. Elliot Daly, 14. Anthony Watson, 13. Manu Tuilagi, 12. Owen Farrell (c), 11. Jonny May, 10. George Ford, 9. Ben Youngs, 8. Billy Vunipola, 7. Sam Underhill, 6. Tom Curry, 5. Courtney Lawes, 4. Maro Itoje, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 2. Jamie George, 1. Mako Vunipola

Reserves:
16. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17. Joe Marler, 18. Dan Cole, 19. George Kruis, 20. Mark Wilson, 21. Ben Spencer, 22. Henry Slade, 23. Jonathan Joseph

South Africa: 15. Willie Le Roux, 14. Cheslin Kolbe, 13. Lukhanyo Am, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 10. Handre Pollard, 9. Faf de Klerk, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Pieter-Steph Du Toit, 6. Siya Kolisi (c), 5. Lood de Jager, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Reserves:
16. Malcolm Marx, 17. Steven Kitshoff, 18. Vincent Koch, 19. RG Snyman, 20. Franco Mostert, 21. Francois Louw, 22. Herschel Jantjies, 23. Frans Steyn

How to watch:

The Herald will be live blogging the match on nzherald.co.nz, with build-up starting from 7pm, while Spark Sport's coverage starts at 9pm and the game is also live on TVNZ 1.

Alternatively, you can live stream the match on sparksport.co.nz or the Spark Sport app.

Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB will have exclusive live commentary from 9.30pm.

Odds: England $1.44, South Africa $2.60

Head to head: The two sides have met 42 times, with South Africa winning on 25 occasions. England have claimed 15 victories, while two matches - in 1906 and 2012 - have been drawn.

Ben Youngs celebrates with Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade as he scores a (disallowed) try against the All Blacks. Photo / Photosport
Ben Youngs celebrates with Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade as he scores a (disallowed) try against the All Blacks. Photo / Photosport

Last five encounters

• 2018 - England 12, South Africa 11
• 2018 - England 25, South Africa 10
• 2018 - England 12, South Africa 23
• 2018 - England 39, South Africa 42
• 2016 - England 37, South Africa 21

At the RWC

• 2007 Final - England 6, South Africa 15
• 2007 Pool A - England 0, South Africa 36
• 2003 Pool C - England 25, South Africa 6
• 1999 Quarter-final - England 21, South Africa 44