Australia vs England: Three key match-ups that will decide second Test in Brisbane

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Australia vs England: Three key match-ups that will decide second Test in Brisbane
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England are out to level their Test series against Australia with victory in Brisbane on Saturday.

A narrow defeat in the first encounter of the tour left Eddie Jones’ side bruised and the coach has wrung the changes for another showdown with the Aussies.

Fascinating match-ups are set to occur across the pitch with Taniela Tupou’s return to the hosts’ line-up sparking the next chapter in a growing battle with Ellis Genge.

Here are three key match-ups that could decide the match...

Taniela Tupou vs Ellis Genge

This is an epic battle in the front row. Tupou was missing last week with a calf injury, and Genge had a good game. ‘Tongan Thor’ presents an altogether more aggressive challenge for the abrasive Bristolian, who does not take a backward step himself. In a competitive field on the loose-head, Genge has emerged as England’s No1 and evolved into a key leader. This is a great opportunity to lay down a marker.

Michael Hooper vs Sam Underhill

Michael Hooper celebrates victory in the first Test (Getty Images)
Michael Hooper celebrates victory in the first Test (Getty Images)

Underhill was the logical choice to come in for the concussed Tom Curry. He is the most experienced of the three options and will bring defensive ferocity. One area he will be challenged is at the breakdown, where Hooper is a real wizard. Underhill needs to help win quicker ball, but Eddie Jones has opted for a beefed-up bench, including Jack Willis and Lewis Ludlam. England want to go hard for 80 minutes.

Nic White vs Jack van Poortvliet

This is perhaps Jones’s boldest selection. Danny Care tried his damnedest last week to make things happen in the face of some desperately slow ball, but the Leicester youngster’s sparky, try-scoring display off the bench has won him selection. He is up against White, one of the canniest operators in the world, and one very familiar to England’s Exeter contingent, after his time in the west country.

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