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England vs South Africa: Head-to-head

23 November 2012

  • All the facts and figures you need to know ahead of tomorrow's clash
  • Get up to speed on where and when to watch and who to look out for
England will face South Africa on Saturday

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Having played three Tests against South Africa during the summer tour, England know just what an attacking threat the Springboks pose.

The games between these two sides are always physical and if England can win the battle up front, there is good chance of claiming a sizeable Southern Hemisphere scalp. Here are all the facts and stats you need to know ahead of Saturday’s clash.

When? Saturday, November 24
Twickenham, Middlesex
2.30pm (UK time)

How to keep up with the action

  • Live on Sky Sports 1 from 2pm
  • Live commentary on BBC 5 live Sports Extra and online
  • Highlights on BBC Three & Online, Saturday 7-8pm
  • Live text commentary on the free RFU iPhone app (search the app store for Official RFU)
  • Live score updates from @Official_RFU on Twitter
  • Match report, post-match interviews and highlights on

The teams


15 Alex Goode (Saracens); 14 Chris Ashton (Saracens); 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers); 12 Brad Barritt (Saracens); 11 Mike Brown (Harlequins); 10 Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers); 9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers); 1 Alex Corbisiero (London Irish); 2 Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers); 3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers); 4 Joe Launchbury (London Wasps); 5 Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers); 6 Tom Wood (Northampton Saints); 7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins); 8 Ben Morgan (Gloucester)

Replacements: 16 David Paice (London Irish); 17 David Wilson (Bath Rugby); 18 Mako Vunipola (Saracens); 19 Mouritz Botha (Saracens); 20 James Haskell (London Wasps); 21 Danny Care (Harlequins); 22 Owen Farrell (Saracens); 23 Jonathan Joseph (London Irish)

South Africa

15 Zane Kirchner (Bulls); 14 JP Pietersen (Natal Sharks); 13 Juan de Jongh (Western Province); 12 Jean de Villiers (Western Province); 11 Francois Hougaard (Bulls); 10 Pat Lambie (Natal Sharks); 9 Ruan Pienaar (Ulster); 1 Gurthro Steenkamp (Toulouse); 2 Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs); 3 Jannie du Plessis (Natal Sharks); 4 Eben Etzebeth (Western Province); 5 Juandre Kruger (Bulls); 6 Francois Louw (Bath Rugby); 7 Willem Alberts (Natal Sharks); 8 Duane Vermeulen (Western Province)

Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits (Saracens); 17 Heinke van der Merwe (Leinster); 18 Pat Cilliers (Western Province); 19 Flip van der Merwe (Bulls); 20 Marcell Coetzee (Natal Sharks); 21 Elton Jantjies (Lions); 22 Jaco Taute (Lions); 23 Lwazi Mvovo (Natal Sharks)

The forward battle will be decisive at Twickenham

Photo Credit: Getty Images

What the coaches say

England coach Stuart Lancaster:

“We have picked a team that will give us the best chance of beating South Africa. There were some tight calls, which is what you want as coaches, but the players we have brought into start have been training well, will bring a real motivation to make the most of their opportunity and will suit the challenge we face against a tough and physical South African team."

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer:

“This last game is going to be a very tough game. But, having said that, I want these guys to really dig deep to have one more great performance out of them,” Meyer told the Daily Mail. “But I have to say that I am worried. I can see the guys mentally that it has been a long season. But these guys are warriors and really want to play for their country.”

Head to head

  • Played 35, England won 12, South Africa won 21, drawn 2
  • Highest score – England 53-3 in 2002, South Africa 58-10 in 2007
  • Biggest win – England 53-3 in 2002, South Africa 58-10 in 2007

Previous four meetings

  • 2010 – England 11- 21 South Africa
  • 2012 – South Africa 22-17 England
  • 2012 – South Africa 36-27 England
  • 2012 – South Africa 14-14 England

England key facts

  • IRB world ranking: 5
  • Most capped player in history: Jason Leonard (114 caps, 1990-2004)
  • Most capped player in the squad: Toby Flood (52 caps, 2006-2012)
  • Most consecutive test wins: 14 (2002 to 2003)

South Africa key facts

  • IRB world ranking: 2
  • Most capped player in history: John Smit (111 caps, 2000-2011)
  • Most capped player in the squad: Jean de Villiers (84 caps, 2002-2012)
  • Most consecutive test wins: 17 (1997-1998)
England won 53-3 at Twickenham in 2002

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Did you know

  • South Africa’s heaviest ever defeat in Test rugby came at the hands of England, losing 53-3 at Twickenham in November 2002.
  • England have not beaten South Africa since November 2006 (the last game of a run of seven straight wins for England v SA), since when they have lost nine and drawn one of their 10 encounters.
  • South Africa have scored a try in each of their 11 Test matches in 2012, accumulating a total of 22 tries over the year.
  • The average points scored in this fixture give South Africa a 21-16 advantage, however at home England hold a narrow edge, with the average score line being 16-15.
  • Toby Flood has won just 48% of his appearances in an England shirt, only five players have lost more games than the 25 he has lost.
  • Adriaan Strauss has thrown more successful lineouts (103) than any other player in international rugby in 2012, he also has the best success rate (92%) of any player to attempt 25+ throws.
  • England have won 50% (5/10) of their matches this season, they have not managed a win rate of over 50% in a non-World Cup year since 2002 when they won eight of their nine matches.
  • Only against New Zealand (18%) do England have a lower win rate than against the Springboks (34%).
  • In two of South Africa’s last three games the half-time score line has been reversed. They turned around a deficit against Ireland but couldn’t hold onto the lead against New Zealand.
  • The aggregate score line in the last two matches at Twickenham between these sides is 63-17 in favour of the visitors.