Matching South Africa's physicality is the key for England in the World Cup final, says Underhill

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TOKYO, JAPAN (NOVEMBER 1, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. ENGLAND HEAD COACH EDDIE JONES AND PROP JOE MARLER SPEAKING

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2. CAPTAIN OWEN FARRELL PASSING BALL

3. LOCK MARO ITOJE TRAINING

4. VARIOUS OF ENGLAND PLAYERS PRACTICING BEING IN RUCK

5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ENGLAND FLANKER, SAM UNDERHILL, SAYING:

"For us, I think it's important in our attack, I suppose speed of ball is one thing you do want and it is one thing the opposition don't want. So, for any attack to function well, you need good speed of ball. And in defence there is not much you can do about what they bring at you, except turn up physically. I think that is probably going to be a theme going into tomorrow. A lot of what's underpinning a lot of aspects of the game is physicality. We get that right and hopefully we will be able to dictate the game."

6. EDDIE JONES SPEAKING TO PROP ELLIS GENGE

7. FLANKER SAM UNDERHILL (CENTRE) WARMING-UP

8. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ENGLAND FLANKER, SAM UNDERHILL, WHEN ASKED IF HE HAS HAD A CALL FROM BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY, SAYING:

"As a group, we have had a couple of messages from... Prince Harry sent us a nice message of support, which was nice to receive, he showed his little lad in an England shirt. That was a nice touch."

9. ITOJE JOINING HUDDLE

10. FARRELL SPEAKING TO TEAM

STORY: Matching South Africa's physicality has been the byword for the week among the England squad, but flanker Sam Underhill says they will have to pick their moments to engage to prevent the World Cup final turning into a war of attrition.

The way South Africa have approached most of their recent games follows a familiar pattern, based on a huge pack creating a safe space for scrumhalf Faf de Klerk to, slowly, deliver endless up and unders for his team mates to chase.

Trying to counter-ruck to put the scrumhalf under pressure is a tactic England will use - but probably sparingly.

"A lot of what's underpinning a lot of aspects of the game is physicality. We get that right and hopefully we will be able to dictate the game," Underhill told a news conference a little over 24 hours before Saturday's (November 2) final.

Underhill, his fellow flanker Tom Curry and lock Maro Itoje have been England's chief turnover weapons, bringing a speed and athleticism to the breakdown markedly absence in previous years.

But the sheer size of the Springbok side, not to mention their 6-2 forwards/back split on the bench that ensures the big men keep on coming, means that shifting them is no easy task.

Underhill, who said the team had received messages of support from Prince Harry, added that England were well aware of that risk but would be backing themselves to reproduce the speed of ball that kept New Zealand scrambling throughout their semi-final win.

(Production: Jack Tarrant)

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