CAPE TOWN – England Eddie Jones has made his intentions clear of wanting to take on the Springboks physically by picking Owen Farrell at flyhalf for Saturday’s showdown at Twickenham.
Jones sprung a surprise by naming Farrell at No 10 on Thursday, instead of his usual inside centre berth under the Australian’s tenure.
George Ford has normally operated at pivot alongside Farrell.
But with Jones perhaps wary of the damage that big Bok No 10 and 12 Handré Pollard and Damian de Allende can inflict, the England coach has bulked up the inside backs further by choosing Ben Te’o at No 12.
The New Zealand-born Te’o is 1.90m and weighs 106kg, and Farrell 1.85m and 96kg – Ford comes in at just 1.75m and 86kg.
Outside centre Henry Slade is no slouch either in the size stakes at 1.88m and 95kg, and was chosen ahead of the powerful but stocky Manu Tuilagi (1.85m and 110kg), who is on the bench.
As expected, Elliot Daly is at fullback after Mike Brown was dropped earlier this week, while Jones has been cautious in his loose trio, with uncapped Zach Mercer on the bench, and Mark Wilson and Tom Curry joining Brad Shields.
There is a relative new face at prop, where Alec Hepburn will make his first Test start, while there is a welcome return for lock George Kruis.
“We’ve become very well organised in our set-piece and have done a lot of good work in Portugal over the last week. We have put in a new defence system and our attack looks more organised than it was on the South Africa tour,” Jones said on the England team website.