Autumn Internationals: England team to play South Africa

Stuart Lancaster has named the England side to play South Africa on Saturday.

Joe Launchbury makes hiss first start in the second row alongside Geoff Parling, Alex Corbisiero returns in place of Joe Marler, Tom Wood and Ben Morgan start in the back row, whilst Ben Youngs and Mike Brown start in the backs.

England RugbyEngland:
15. Alex Goode (Saracens, 4 caps)
14. Chris Ashton (Saracens, 27 caps)
13. Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 15 caps)
12. Brad Barritt (Saracens, 9 caps)
11. Mike Brown (Harlequins, 9 caps)
10. Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers, 52 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 26 caps)

1. Alex Corbisiero (London Irish, 16 caps)
2. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 2 cap)
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 33 caps)
4. Joe Launchbury (London Wasps, 2 caps)
5. Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers, 10 caps)
6. Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 11 caps)
7. Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt, 10 caps)
8. Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 7 caps)

16. David Paice (London Irish, 4 caps)
17. David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 21 caps)
18. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 2 cap)
19. Mouritz Botha (Saracens, 9 caps)
20. James Haskell (London Wasps, 43 caps)
21. Danny Care (Harlequins, 35 caps)
22. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 10 caps)
23. Jonathan Joseph (London Irish, 3 caps)

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We have picked a team that will give us the best chance of beating South Africa. There were some tight calls, which is what you want as coaches, but the players we have brought into start have been training well, will bring a real motivation to make the most of their opportunity and will suit the challenge we face against a tough and physical South African team.”

What do you think? Would you have picked a different team?

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

65 thoughts on “Autumn Internationals: England team to play South Africa

  1. Almost the exact team I would have gone for, although I may have started Haskell. But overall very happy; and beginning to become optimistic about the weekend!

  2. Probably the best team we could put out given the squad we have. Be interesting to see Joseph get a run out. Will he be on the wing, or as I hope it will be, in the centres?

  3. Not sure that i see Brown as a winger.

    Also i think this is the game that we will miss Hartley and Lawes the most.

    I don’t really see that Wood has done enough this year to merit a place but he is obviously very highly thought of by Lancaster. Similar story with Youngs but i suppose it makes sense to give them both a go.

    I know it wasn’t going to happen but i’m still annoyed Armitage isn’t at least in the 20 shirt.

  4. I think Wood will make a big difference – as will Haskell coming off the bench – 2 players with the physicality not to take a backwards step.

    As good a team as can be had from the squad, hope Joseph gets a decent run out.

  5. Read somewhere recently that Lancaster doesn’t think Armitage is fit enough irrespective of the playing in France issue. Is Lauchbury really hard enough for this match?

      1. Just what I wanted to hear, I hadn’t remembered the particular match but have a lot of time for the quality of that U20s squad

    1. First time i’ve questioned Lancaster’s integrity in an interview. That comment was so clearly clutching at straws. Also I don’t know why he keeps making the comparisons to Robshaw as everyone wants Robshaw to play alongside Armitage.

      1. I don’t think he needs to make excuses, really. The simple reasoning that even if he did pick him, he wouldn’t be available to face New Zealand (“and what do we do then?”), is justification enough as far as I’m concerned. If Toulon and England can come to an agreement, however, get him in!

        1. I agree with Geat. If Toulon and England come to an agreement then great; but if not then I can completely see SLs reasoning.

          Also, Armitage knew he was jeopardizing his chances to play for England by moving to France, do we not want people who would do anything to play for England? And by anything, all we ask for is that the play their rugby in England.

          1. The thing is though its taken a move to France to turn him into the player he is. If he had stayed at London Irish i very much doubt he would be at this standard.

            Also previous management made it seem to him as if he had no chance of getting into the England side.

          1. That’s right, yeah – and as such Toulon are under no obligation (under the current terms of his deal) to release him.

    1. Picked for his superior box kicking apparently…

      It’s not England’s kicking that’s the problem usually though – it’s the chase, or lack thereof.

      1. We shall see then, I guess. For me, Care is one of the best NH scrum-halves, seems a shame to bench him. Mind you, the bench is packed with quality which will be great if it’s tight at 55-60 minutes…

        1. I agree that Care is one of the best NH scrum halfs, but so is Ben Youngs. We should stop trying to split them apart, and understand that we are luck yo have two such good 9s.
          I personally would pick Youngs, because he has proved himself more so an international level, and he also plays better with Flood.
          But I am also a huge Care fan.

      2. Hutch,I could’nt agree more.To me it is fundamentally so obvious that I can’t understand how professional coaches and players don’t see it.

  6. Not sure about the choice of Youngs, he’s shown nothing so far to suggest that he will be an improvement over Care and to my mind, will be worse. He dithers too much and makes rash decisions.

    Can’t think of better opposition to find out whether Launchbury has what is needed to be an international second row

    At least the bench looks like it has some potential game-changers on there with Joseph, Vunipola, Haskell and Care (just wish it read Burns rather than Farrell…)

    1. I think that both Care and Youngs are a little hit or miss at the moment. It is easy to criticise the decision making of either when they make one or two bad calls across the game, but they do seem to come up with technical errors far too often – mis-placed passes or poor kicks.

      Burns would be a good call for the bench, though I guess that if 2 outside backs were to be injured, they would struggle to find a way of fitting Burns in (at this level).

      1. You Nearly always have specialist 10 cover and one outside back on the bench. Straight swap of Farrell for Burns would mean we have an impact player on the bench rather than a guy that can’t pass.

        1. Very harsh to say Farrell can’t pass!! He has very good hands, but lacks the vision someone like Burns has. What he does give you off the bench is the ability to put us in the right area of the pitch, and defend and tackle for all his worth. Something Flood has never done convincingly, and against SA he will be targeted for that reason.
          Burns is not tested at this level, and to throw him on the bench against SA for his first full test would not help his development.
          Burns’s first test should come in the 6 nations against Italy or Scotland, where he will have more time on the ball, and allow him to get some confidence in an England shirt.

      2. Youngs is a better player than care. He needs work on temperament which will come with game time.

        when has care ever stepped up at international level?

        Youngs has done it against Australia in Australia and in the uk. Ive NEVER seen care perform at Int level and i dont believe he has the game to do it.

        Plus Youngs plays with flood every week, which is a major factor in the 9/10 relationship.

        parling is the next borthwick, a line out “guru” but not an animal on the park. where is lawes?

        rest of the team looks better, but not a fan of brown on the wing.

        1. Totally agree Jimmy with your comments on Youngs. Personally I would have dropped Care for that haircut alone!!

        2. Agree on the Youngs issue. Even if I agreed with others that Care is the better player, the way he plays with Flood is not great and you need to pick the best team, not the best individual players. Flood and Youngs look a million times better together, though he didn’t cover himself in glory last week off the bench.
          Aside from that, I think Care – with his sniping – would make a lot more impact off the bench at 60 and would help England change the game plan.

  7. I think Brown will make a great chaser on the wing. Certainly not laking for pace, and has a good boot on him as well. He will be very aware of Goodes’ ability to up & under as well, and will be eager to back him up for the chase on those too. The idea of having two full backs almost payed off against SA in the summer. So let’s hope it works this time.

    I think Launchbury is a great choice for this game. And Botha could make an impact off the bench with his physicality.

    Will be good to see Morgan back, and see what he can do. I think Waldrom was a better choice with Johnston at 6, but for this game Wood, Robshaw and Morgan are a better back row.

    So Corbs is straight back in the starting line up. Hope he’s fully fit?

    Ben Youngs needs to have a good start, otherwise he could fall down the pecking order. Thought he looked indecisive and out of sorts last week, and surprised to see him starting.

    All in all I think Lancaster’s right, this is a team selected to beat SA. Big back row, good kickers in the back three (well two of them anyway), and a good defensive midfield led by Barritt!! We know they’ll probably target Flood as a weak link in the defensive line, but Barritt and Tuilagi should be well aware of that threat, and with Wood tracking back, I’m not too worried about that. Should be a great game.

    Come on ENGLAND!!

    1. Brown is so slow! Would much prefer the natural gas of JJ, Jonny may or as opposed to hunch back brown running straight into the nearest tackler.

      1. Can’t understand your view on Brown

        If as you seem to believe, he is slow and runs straight into the nearest tackler, I really can’t believe he would have lasted long playing for the Premiership champions or for that matter, to have gathered so many plaudits doing so.

        To be fair he is not a wing, but a full back. Even so and coming on with only 20 mins to play in last week’s game, he still ran for more metres than Ashton and Sharples combined.

        1. Before I outline my argument, I need to say that i dont think Brown is a bad fullback. I just think some people need to come down to earth about him.
          He was lacking gas so badly he had to recieve sprint training, from margot wells i think. The reason he hasnt had to develop vision or good hands is because his skills suit quins game plan perfectly.
          He may not be fast but he is quick and strong making him difficult to tackle, he hits the gainline with pace, usually after receiving a small pop pass from a forward and tries to break. Hence why we never see him pass, he gets few assists but does score tries and break the gain line. Again we only really see his pace being exposed when he gets a bit more room to run. He does have that go to monster left boot.
          Brown got burned by a cruising Wade in the opening round did he not? Only highlights the difference between a winger and a full back being shoe horned into the wing berth.

          1. That wasn’t Brown, that was Lowe, who is a centre, a really good centre, but not a wing either. In fact, it was Brown who scored two tries that day, both of which required a decent burst of pace. And Brown who was the second man across when Wade scored his try, despite being on the other side of the pitch when Wade first picked up the ball…

            Brown may not be the fastest, but he isn’t slow, and he more than makes up for it with his other attributes, in my opinion.

  8. I can see Launchbury taking over Parling’s role as the line out guru as he becomes more experienced. That leaves a place for the likes of Lawes to play the enforcer role, which we desperately need.

    1. quite. our issues in scrum come down to our second rows not havibng the bulk to lock the scrum out. the aussies had tekani and sharpe, 19+ 18 stone plus and we had parling – borthwick and Nice Guy palmer.

      1. That sounds like a great combo, Launchbury and Lawes. The only problem I see with that is that Lawes can’t stay fit for a whole season. So who would be your back-up. Garvey?

        1. Haven’t seen much of Garvey to be honest. I thought Dave Attwood would be pushing harder for selection, Kitchener another lock that is highly regarded…

          Not easy to replace Lawes though!

          1. I watched Kitchener play for the saxons before he moved to Leicester and i thought he had future England lock all over. Launchbury will be some physical beast in two years time, agreed that Lawes, Launchbury and Kitchener are looking good. If Robson was a bit bigger he would have made a fine enforcer.

          2. Aren’t a lot of Lawes issues related to the fact his body struggle to keep up with his rapid growth?

            I don’t buy into much about needing a line out guru in the team – it’s not rocket science and I would place oomph and power as a priority.

        2. Problem with Lawes is that his hits are borderline illegal – making him a potential liability and his theory is “get bigger hit harder” which saw him injured very soon after he returned. He’s going to destroy himself very early on and I think it’s a detriment to himself and he’s not going to stay in the England team in a similar way to JSD.

          I don’t know why so many seem to think Parling is useless. I’ll be frank. I’m a flanker who has played second row. Nobody notices second rows unless they’re doing something not second row like. They come on, do a job and go off. Very rarely do I see a second row who’s done a fantastic job receive the plaudits. In my eye Parling tackles well (safely and legally), carries well and is a smart operator, on top of being pretty quick (by second row standards).

  9. Definitely agree that Launchbury and Lawes look like the best second row combo we have going forward. Although it does mean that we need one of the bigger young locks to come in as 3rd choice. That being Garvey, Attwood etc.
    Having Kitchener as well would leave us in a similar position to the one we are in with Care/Youngs. Three locks who are decent in the lineout and good around the park, but lack the gigantism to really drain the oppo’.
    Which let’s face it, really is one of the key roles of the tight 5.

    1. Kitchener is 1.98m and 112Kg. Now that’s not super heavy, but it’s far from lightweight. 3 Kg lighter than Nathan Sharpe. Nothing in it. Parling is actually heavier than Kitchener at 114, but both operate the lineout effectively. Launchbury for the added weight people imply he’ll bring is only 115.

      Role of the tight five – win and keep ball at the set piece, tackle, ruck and turnover. Parling does it all very well, but noone notices.

  10. I think SL can play a long game with Haskell and Palmer, when the World Cup comes around he can pick the best team at the time and at he;ll have seen plenty of players in big games. Youngs and Flood look very comfortable together. I would have put Brown in place of Goode at Full Back as he seems to arrive in the line more than Goode, to give someone on the shoulder of Tuilangi.
    Will be interesting on Sat

  11. I don’t see why we are picking fullbacks on the wing while we have players like Christian Wade who are begging for a start. But I guess South Africa is hardly the team to field a debutante against.

    1. I’m more comfortable with Brown on the wing than Wade against the Boks. Everyone knows what gameplan they’ll be up against, and a solid back three is very sensible.

      Wade should get a run in the Six Nations, and would be surprised not to see Sharples back involved then. Foden nearing fitness, and he’s a must in the team for me.

  12. Don’t know if Ed Slater at Leicester could fulfill the role, but he seems to be progressing quite well so may be within a year or so he could be in the running for full England honours?

  13. I don’t think that they were so bad against AUS, we seemed to have lost a lot of respect for AUS.

    No need for mass changes, it’s bad for confidence.

    My only real worry is S Armitage, I would like us to play with a real 7.

    1. Aus are a good team, but England ought to be pushing and beating top 3 sides if they want to stake a real claim on a competitive world cup side, also need to be in the top 4 for selection for the world cup which has now gone.

      Short answer is that Australia are the weaker (I feel) of the top 3 and had a particularly poor Championship. Combined with the horrendous injuries they’re suffering at the minute and England’s home advantage, a win was understandably expected.

      However, I agree, what England need now is continuity and confidence. Moving players in and out of the squad because they’ve had 1 bad game is very bad for that. The other thing is that it’s not always that player, but who is supporting them making them look bad.

      I think a number of the changes are to do with a change of game plan to match South Africa for physicality. It always worries me when a side are changing strategy from opposition to opposition. While it’s important to be aware of the different things the opposition has to offer, what England have done wrong in the last few years is trying to play the opposition’s game instead of playing their own game.

      1. Australia has a “particularly poor” championship, and came second. You’ve got high standards, haven’t you?

        1. Not so sure it’s high standards. It’s miraculous that they came second. The way they played they could so easily have lost both games against Argentina and their win over South Africa shocked me because I believe they were the second best team on the park that day. Australia only came second because SA drew with Argentina in one of their games. Level on 12 points, they weren’t even ahead of SA on score difference (-36).

          I think Australia and the world would have seen it as a poor Championship for Australia.

  14. Will people please stop asking for Steffon Armitage in the squad. It’s not going to happen unless either A) He moves back to a Premiership team or B) The RFU can negotiate a deal with Toulon (and other French teams) to secure players for training camps and international tournaments and matches. Seeing as neither of these are likely to happen in the near future (particularly B) can we please stop going on about it.
    He’s not in the squad, not likely to be in the squad for some time. Get over it!

    1. C) it wont make any difference.

      when ever we lose against the SH teams , bcause we always suffer at the break down. there is lawys a acall for a “fetcher” openside, which i read “short” flanker.

      Francios louw, the boks “fetcher” is 6’3 and does the job. Wood and robshaw can do the job.

      We lack 1) the intensity 2) the organisation to get to the ackle area and a) clear out ( 4 quick ball) b) steal oppo ball.

      is not about personnel its about application and I really hope that our new 2nd row and back row, pull their fingers out and hit rucks like madmen and be organised to get to our ball carriers first !

      come on boys!!!!!

      1. Ps – this is all irrelevant if our set piece doesnt function , and we go backwards. if that happens we are screwed.

      2. Thank you Jimmy. That was the next point I was going to make. We have people that can do the job, and they’re playing on our doorstep where a deal has already been done for them to be released for these matches, and he training camps. Maybe they don’t look as good as Armitage, but at this level we don’t know for sure that he would be that good either. Maybe we should play Cole at 7 if it will keep people happy, as he seems to be doing a good impression of a “fetcher”.

        1. Well said Jimmy. I’ve been banging on about this for a while now. We could have McCaw playing for us and we’d still get done at the breakdown for lack of support.

          The Aussies dominated the tackle area not because of Hooper but because they cleared us out on their ball and fiercely counter-rucked on ours.

          Meanwhile, half our forwards were hanging around either in mid-field or on the wing, watching whilst the backs tried to secure the ball. Whoever is coaching them to do this needs to have his head examined. Hopefully Woods and Launchbury will help in this respect

          1. Pab and Dazza- exactly. its easy to over complicate!

            Dazza – i chuckled re Cole….he also does a buit too much standing around rucks looking “enforcer like” but not getting his head dirty.

          2. You’d expect half the forwards to stand around. Most teams operate forwards as paired pods to operate off the quick ball. One pod rucks, the other waits for the quick ball run in for crashball/maul, ruck, meanwhile the second pod is reset, waiting for the ball to come out and so on. Eventually, when there’s disarray, the strike run comes out from the backs and the nearest pod chases to ruck over and the whole cycle starts again.

            What can go wrong is that the pods don’t know which ruck they’re hitting or waiting for quick ball at. so all the forwards are waiting for the ball while the scrumhalf is trying to ruck the opposition prop off his ball.

            That said, my biggest concern tends to be the unwillingness of backs to hit a ruck and you often see them waiting for the scrum half to get the ball out or a prop to ruck over. Man up – first man there is the first man over the ball

    2. I guarantee that when Armitgae does next play for England, and I’m sure behind the scene talks are taking place, many people will be very disappointed by the level of impact he has. Tom Rees was a briliant openside for England, and yet we still struggled even when he played. As Jimmy and others note – this is about team work and organistion. I really wish England would bite the bullet and bring in a specialist from the SH to specifically coach our boys on the breakdown.

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