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Page last updated at 12:11 GMT, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 13:11 UK

England set for three-Test series in South Africa

Ugo Monye and Schalke Burger
England v South Africa encounters are often compelling matches

South Africa will host England in a three-Test series in 2012.

The announcement follows a new International Rugby Board directive to introduce longer end-of-season tours in the southern hemisphere.

South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins said: "Everyone in rugby has been yearning for a return to old-style tours and the IRB has delivered.

"Both the tourists and the host nations in the southern hemisphere were keen to see this change brought about."

South Africa and England first met in 1906 when they ground out a 3-3 stalemate at Crystal Palace in London with England visiting South Africa six times since.

They played two-Test tours in 1984, 1994, 2000 and 2007 while they played one-off games in South Africa in 1972 and 1998.

Apart from the Lions in 1997 and 2009, England's tour will be the first extended visit by a single nation since New Zealand won a three-match series in South Africa in 1996.

The IRB says Ireland (2016) and France (2017) will embark on similar tours to South Africa before England return for a second full series in 2018.

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see also
Nonu set to miss All Blacks Tests
19 May 10 |  Rugby Union
IRB agrees 10-year tour schedule
18 May 10 |  Rugby Union
England pick nine untried players
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Powell back for Wales' June Tests
16 May 10 |  Welsh
Ferris set to miss Ireland tour
04 May 10 |  Rugby Union
Thompson named in Scotland squad
12 May 10 |  Scottish

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