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England Vs South Africa: Five Key Match-Ups That Could Decide The Game

BAGSHOT, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Dylan Hartley looks on during the England training session at Pennyhill Park on November 8, 2016 in Bagshot, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

As the second round of November tests approaches, South Africa will be hoping to return to winning ways after a disappointing test season. The English on the other hand will be looking to beat the Springboks for the first time since 2006.

Here we’ve selected five key match-ups that could decide the outcome of the weekend’s biggest fixture.


5. Dylan Hartley vs Adriaan Strauss

Both captains will have something to prove, as England look to finish off their fantastic year on a high. Strauss will be aiming to prove his doubters wrong as he comes to end of his international career, and will be key to any set-piece dominance that South Africa can gain during the match.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 11: Adriaan Strauss, the Springbok captain, passes the ball during the South Africa captain's run at Twickenham Stadium on November 11, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

New Zealand-born Hartley will be hoping to get under the skin of the South Africans as they look to put an end to their terrible winless run against the Springboks.


4. Joe Launchbury vs Eben Etzebeth

Joe Launchbury will need to be on top of his game if the English pack want to front up physically to a strong South African unit. Launchbury will be hoping his ball carrying ability will give England an edge, as there is a suggestion that he may struggle come lineout time.

COVENTRY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: Joe Launchbury of Wasps during the Aviva Premiership match between Wasps and Newcastle Falcons at The Ricoh Arena on October 30, 2016 in Coventry, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Etzebeth on the other hand will hope to make his mark at the lineout, as South Africa aim to gain some dominance at the set-piece.


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3. Billy Vunipola vs Warren Whiteley

The Australian-born loose forward will be hoping to prove his world class status, as he prepares for his toughest physical challenge of the year and will look to make his presence felt at the breakdown as England aim to put South Africa on the back foot.

VILAMOURA, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 01: Billy Vunipola holds a tackle bag during the England training session held at Brown's Sport Complex on November 1, 2016 in Vilamoura, Portugal. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Whiteley meanwhile, will be looking to cement his name in the South African team, providing his team with a ball-carrying option in the wide channels along with another lineout option, as his side look to finish their year on a high.


2. George Ford vs Patrick Lambie

England’s first-choice fly-half will be key to the functioning of an exciting English backline. Front foot ball and an expansive game plan may well be the order of the day as Ford looks to command and dominate possession while keeping his team on the front foot.

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 21: Patrick Lambie (captain)of the Cell C Sharks during the round 13 Super Rugby match between Cell C Sharks and Southern Kings at Growthpoint Kings Park on May 21, 2016 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Lambie may take a very different approach, as South Africa may choose to adopt a more cautious style and play a territorial-based game in order to return to winning ways.


1. Elliot Daly vs Francois Venter

Two players who will be keen to make their mark are outside centres Elliot Daly and Francois Venter. The exciting young Englishman will be looking to test out a shaky South African defence, and his brilliant attacking skills could come in handy against a weak South African backline.

BAGSHOT, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Elliot Daly passes the ball as Jonathan Joseph tacklesl during the England training session held at Pennyhill Park on November 10, 2016 in Bagshot, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Venter will hoping that his debut is memorable one, and his offloading skills and ability to read the game will be key to a South African victory.

Darren Holliday, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

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