DURBAN – The English will be boosted by the services of lock Joe Launchbury who has had an injury cloud over him since arriving in South Africa, as well as Hurricanes captain Brad Shields who moves into the starting line-up for tomorrow’s clash in Bloemfontein.
The mercurial flyhalf Danny Cipriani is named on the bench, replacing former Blues player Piers Francis.
Cipriani’s last cap for England came against France ahead of the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
The rest of the side remains the same with the hopes that they will be able to replicate the performance they managed in Johannesburg in the first 20 minutes of the game.
One of the casualties has been Chris Robshaw, the former England captain, who makes way for the New Zealand born Shields. “Difficult decision to drop Chris, we just feel we need another line-out forward against South Africa,” coach Eddie Jones explained.
“Brad is a very competent jumper and he has fitted in the team well. Chris has been slightly off his game the last couple of weeks, and we feel he would benefit from the rest.”
The English have shown that they are able to attack and put the Boks on the back foot, but only when they have the ball and are allowed to attack. Their discipline has been their downfall in the past with wing Jonny May stating in the week that they are looking to address this facet of their game.
“We have spoken as a group because we’re desperate to be the best. One penalty can really get a team going. It’s such a frustrating one because we don’t want to be giving away penalties. We know better than that,” May said.
The pressure is definitely on the English to get a result as their defeat in Johannesburg was their fifth in a row, including a loss to the Barbarians.
“It is a difficult time for us. Whenever you lose a few games, there is noise, there is pressure, and it is a complex job picking 23 players out of 34,” Jones added. “We have identified areas we need to work on.
“We have come here to win the series against SA and the squad is ready to go out and beat them this weekend. We have had a very good preparation this week and the intensity and executions in those sessions are going to put us in a good position for Saturday.”
The England team is:
15-Elliot Daly, 14-Jonny May, 13-Henry Slade, 12-Owen Farrell (captain), 11-Mike Brown, 10-George Ford, 9-Ben Youngs, 8-Billy Vunipola, 7-Tom Curry, 6-Brad Shields, 5-Maro Itoje, 4-Joe Launchbury, 3-Kyle Sinckler, 2-Jamie George, 1-Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16-Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17-Joe Marler, 18-Harry Williams, 19-Mark Wilson, 20-Nathan Hughes, 21-Ben Spencer, 22-Danny Cipriani, 23-Denny Solomona