Rugby: South Africa v England Preview

By IndepthAfrica
In Rugby
Jun 16th, 2012
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England’s captain Chris Robshaw, second from left, trains with teammates during their captain s run at the Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday, June 15, 2012. England will play their second test rugby match against South Africa on Saturday, June 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

Captain Chris Robshaw believes England can create their own piece of rugby history in Saturday’s second Test.

England must win to stay alive in the three-match series but South Africa have lost just once in the last 10 years in Johannesburg, the home of their 1995 World Cup triumph.

“We want to come here and put our mark on history,” Robshaw insisted.

George Lowe has returned home with an ankle ligament injury with Gloucester’s Jonny May called up as replacement.

Harlequins back Lowe was forced off early in the second half of an England XV’s 54-26 win over the Southern Barbarians in Kimberley on Wednesday.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has made a number of personnel and positional changes to the starting line-up he named for last weekend’s 22-17 loss in Durban.

Three-quarter Manu Tuilagi has been moved to inside centre with Jonathan Joseph, making his first start, at number 13. Toby Flood has also been restored at fly-half in place of Owen Farrell.

England were forced to make a change to their original 22 on Friday with Thomas Waldrom taking over from Phil Dowson.
England’s recent record against South Africa

England have lost their last eight Tests against South Africa , going back to November 2006.

The last time England beat the Springboks was 18 November 2006, with Phil Vickery’s late try helping them to a 23-21 win at Twickenham.

Dowson is suffering from a tight hamstring so uncapped Leicester number eight Waldrom, who scored two tries in a man-of-the-match midweek display against the South Africa Southern Barbarians , could make his Test debut off the bench.

Robshaw hopes the changes will help the team to show more creative intent after being on the back foot for long periods in Durban.

“We just need to mix it up a bit more, it is about moving them around. They have got some big guys,” he said.

“But we are focusing on what we are good at. It is about playing at a tempo and controlling that at the right time.

“It is about having that balance and being able to test them in certain areas.”

Forwards coach Graham Rowntree was part of the coaching staff when the British and Irish Lions beat the Springboks at Ellis Park , now renamed Coca-Cola Park, in the final Test of a memorable 2009 series.

He joined the England players in a pre-match visit to the stadium on Friday, and said: “It is such an experience for them and it brought back some memories from when I was last there with the Lions and we won an important Test.

“Hopefully it can be as good an occasion as that tomorrow.”

South Africa captain Jean de Villiers has warned England that his side are looking to improve on their performance from the first Test in Durban.

“Last week I think we were happy to just get away with a win because the butterflies were there – the guys were a little bit nervous, including myself and the coach,” he said.

“But now it is a week later and we have looked at the video and seen there is a lot to improve on.”

South Africa have made just the one change to their starting line-up.

Pat Lambie is recalled at full-back in place of Zane Kirchener, who suffered a knee injury in the first Test.

England: B Foden; C Ashton, J Joseph, M Tuilagi, D Strettle; T Flood, B Youngs; J Marler, D Hartley, D Cole, M Botha, G Parling, T Johnson, C Robshaw (capt), B Morgan.

Replacements : L Mears, A Corbisiero, T Palmer, T Waldrom, L Dickson, O Farrell, A Goode.

South Africa: P Lambie; J P Pietersen, J de Villiers (capt), F Steyn, B Habana; M Steyn, D Hougaard; T Mtawarira, B du Plessis, J du Plessis, E Etzebeth, J Kruger, M Coetzee, W Alberts, P Spies.

Replacements : A Strauss, W Kruger, F van der Merwe, K Daniel, R Pienaar, B Basson, W Olivier.

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