England team to face South Africa in 2nd Test

Update: Thomas Waldrom is on the bench for Phil Dowson, who has a tight hamstring.

England have a made a series of major changes to their back line for the 2nd Test in Johannesburg. Injuries to Mike Brown and Brad Barritt have seen Stuart Lancaster re-jig his backline, with Ben Foden returning to full back and David Strettle replacing him on the left wing.

In the centres, Manu Tuilagi has moved infield to accomodate the exciting Jonathan Joseph at 13, with Toby Flood taking over from Owen Farrell at fly-half. Alex Corbisiero and Danny Care join the bench, as do Farrell and Alex Goode.

15. Ben Foden, 14. Chris Ashton, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Manu Tuilagi, 11. David Strettle, 10. Toby Flood, 9. Ben Youngs; 1. Joe Marler, 2. Dylan Hartley, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Mouritz Botha, 5. Geoff Parling, 6. Tom Johnson, 7. Chris Robshaw (c), 8. Ben Morgan


16. Lee Mears, 17. Alex Corbisiero, 18. Tom Palmer, 19. Thomas Waldrom, 20. Lee Dickson, 21. Owen Farrell, 22. Alex Goode

41 thoughts on “England team to face South Africa in 2nd Test

  1. Wow, I am once again happily suprised by SL. It is such a change to have a manager that is prepared to admit that things weren’t right and mix things up he has just gone up another notch in my book .. if that’s possible!

    This is pretty much what everyone has been screaming for and offers us the best chance of leveling the series. My confidence levels have soared!

  2. Happy with all of it apart from Waldrom. Thought he was outstanding against the Barbarians and more than put his hand up, enough to replace Dowson anyway.

  3. Well done to Mr. Lancaster. Personally my only worry with Flood is that he will get trampled by De Villiers and Steyne. But I hope he proves me wrong.
    How does Waldrom not even get a bench spot though? Dowson, although very experienced at club level, and very committed as a player, does not have the go forward ability that Waldrom has. Nice to see Goode get the bench spot.

  4. Wait, I’m confused, article reads that Waldrom joins the bench, but then Dowson is named. Which is the oversight, like Ben I thought he did enough even if he isn’t as useful a utility as Dowson

  5. I’m not sure this is right, most other sources have Lee Dickson on the bench and not Danny Care as here.

    1. RFU site confirms that it is Dickson so my initial excitment is slightly dampened by exclusion of Waldrom and Care but still think that the starting XV is the right way to go!

  6. Good job Mr Lancaster! Picked on form, but also not retained on loyalty. With Flood starting don’t mind seeing Youngs retained. Thought Corbs might come straight back in, but as he hasn’t played for a while see the logic in bringing back onto bench. Can understand reason for having Dixon on bench for variety, but personally would have gone for Care. Only dissapointment for me is no Waldrom, where were we badly beaten last week? Backrow ball carrying! Which, combined with his ability to pick a line, offload and pass, seemed like a perfect job spec for the tank. I thought he would have been a no brainer to bring onto bench. Don’t think Strettle on wing Goode on bench will have the Bok camp reaching for the immodium but should at least be fairly dependable.

    Lets hope the Manu JJ combo goes well, I’m sure De Villiers will have had some banter with Steyn …. “haha u get to try and tackle him this week” …

  7. Gutted for Danny not to be in there ahead of dickson, Waldrom unlucky too. Otherwise I’m quite excited about the team.

    We really need to find ourselves a decent winger instead of Stret, Wade would get crushed by the bocks, maybe he’ll find his place in a few years.

  8. Just somewhat disappointed in this. Lancaster has always said he will pick on form and yet the two best players from the mid-week team are left out. And they both play in positions where the incumbents are having problems.

    At least Youngs tends to play better with Flood outside him. But I can see Morgan barely lasting a half at altitude. Dowson is solid but nothing more. Waldrom would at least have offered us something new

    Also, just cannot understand Lee Mears on the bench. He won’t be around for much longer and has not got the size to add something against the Boks

    Still, at least Lancaster has made some changes in the backs. Something had to be done. I think this might be a good combo but am worried about our defense. Watch the Boks target the space between Flood and Tuilagi. Robshaw and Johnson are going to have to do a shed-load of tackling.

    1. The Boks will probably just target Flood, not necessarily the space between him and Tuilagi. They new Farrell would not be a walk over, but Spies, De Villiers and Steyne will be rubbing their hands. But if we can get quick ball, this should offer more in attack.

      1. I don’t think Flood is the defensive liability everyone else believes he is whilst not cut from the Wilkinson/Farrell mold i think hes an average defensive 10. I think its a bigger risk to play the game with a 10 that has zero vision.

  9. We are all going to look like idiots if flood tuilagi and joseph doesnt work. Just put that out there :P

    1. I don’t think we will look like idiots because the previous formula wasn’t even close to working. On paper this combo is by far the best attacking outfit so even if it doesn’t work out it would have been better to try it than let the midfield stagnate.

  10. Personally, I think Dickson on the bench is the right choice… but I think Care should be above Youngs. Maybe it’s another test of his temperament… I really hope that Care plays the last test though. Never really seen Waldrom play, except in the Premiership final where he wandered offside stupidly and got himself sin-binned, so can’t say I’m too disappointed by his exclusion. I’d also have gone with Monye over Strettle, but Strettle doesn’t seem like such a bad choice.

    1. I think Strettle is in their for kick chase potential, and chasing restarts. Two things he does excellently for Sarries.

      1. Yes, but with Flood, wouldn’t they be trying to play it about a bit more rather than kicking it all the time? Farrell’s good enough at kicking, and he’s a better tackler than Flood. The only big difference is Flood’s passing. That must be the reason why he’s in the team, so does that mean that Strettle has less use?

  11. Overall I’m pleased with the selection, and it’s refreshing to see a coach prepared to change things around if they aren’t right.

    I’m not convinced that the Flood, Tuilagi, JJ combo is right though – Flood has impressed and disappointed in equal measure at international level, I’m happy with Manu if he gets quick ball (‘give it to Manu’ is not an adequate gameplan) and I can’t help thinking JJ has been fast-tracked into the side just because he’s got a sidestep and we haven’t seen anyone with quick feet in a white jersey since Jason Robinson.

    1. Well there was the fax sent to the ABs ahead of the 95 showdown with England

      “Remember that rugby is a team game; all 14 of you make sure you pass the ball to Jonah.”

      But hopefully we’ll a bit more than passing to him standing still way behind the gain line and hoping he can bosh over it.

    2. Overall a pretty solid looking side, should be very competitive. I just hope they don’t exect Manu to be a battering ram. I get the impression that Lancaster’s looking to make him into another Nonu, difference is Nonu aims for the gaps, he doesn’t just try and run over his opposite. All he needs is that half gap and then look for the off load to JJ, once they’ve broken the gain line the Boks will be forced to defend while running back – you’ll always have the advantage if you get front foot ball.

  12. I think possibly going forward, a 11 to 15 combination of 11. Tuilagi, 12. Barritt, 13. Joseph, 14. Ashton, 15. Foden. With Joseph at 13, England have someone who can create and exploit space in the opponents defence, and then offload if necessary. Something we’ve been lacking for some time. Barritt is an out and out crash 12, and needs a Joseph or similar outside him. With Tuilagi on the wing we have a big wrecking ball of a winger not short of pace, and the ability to make holes and create space inside him as well.

  13. With the injuries, i think this is nearly the best team we can field. That said, there are a few selections i’d personally have changed i.e Care instead of Youngs, Waldrom instead of Dowson, Corbisiero starting with Marler on the bench, and possibly Allen instead of Goode.

    Just throwing it out there, as SL has already tried playing 2 full backs in the starting team, how about having Abendanon on the wing, with Foden at 15?

    All in all, quite happy though. C’mon boys

  14. This combo feels right. We have unbridled power in Tuilagi at 12 and some silky skills outside him in JJ. We just trebled our attacking threat in the mid field in my opinion. Barritt isn’t an international centre. He’s a master in defence but literally only brings a decent crash option at 12, nowhere near the power or gain line breaking ability of manu or the pace and footwork of JJ. Barritt was a hero in the six nations but going forward to 2015 he’s not going to make the cut.

    1. There is one thing which Barritt has, which has on occasion let Manu down, and that is a good temperament. When you’re losing and getting frustrated, would you rather have someone who can keep their cool and help keep the team together, or someone who lets fly with shoulder charges and speak with their fists. Barritt has the skills, Tuilagi the power. I think if Flood was playing 10 with Barritt and Tuilagi outside him it would be a very differrent team than with Farrell. Farrell is still learning his craft, still only 20, and this experience will help him immensely. But the attacking side of things does not come naturally to him, it needs to be coached.

      1. I agree with your comments regarding Flood/Farrell partnering Barritt. Farrell has absolutely no vision whatsoever so a player like Barritt is going to look even more one dimensional. As i just stated on the article by Will Greenwood putting Flood in for Farrell is more important for the attack than JJ in for Barritt.

        Dazza do you think that attacking side of the game can be learnt? In my opinion the eye for the gap and timing of distribution is something that people either have or they don’t. The game management/defense is easier to coach.

        1. To a point I would agree, but I also think it is down to the individual and their mentality as well. Certainly the eye for the gap is instinctive, but I do believe that timing of passes etc can be coached.

  15. Whereas there is probably a slight niggle with the subs bench from most of us, it’s amazing to see what SL has done since his appointment. There was revolution at the start and since then there has been continual evolution. How many of us would have predicted this team 12 months ago. Probably half the team are stalwarts but the rest have (in international terms) come from nowhere. I can see why he doesn’t want to keep changing the team wholesale, so there is some continuity. In SL I have faith. The verdict is still out on the coaching of an attacking game.

    1. I think his work with the players is brilliant, in terms of the fundamentals of player attitude, unity and buy in he has rectified everything that was wrong. Still worry we lack the leading rugby intellect within the coaching team that we missed out on with Smith. Where we seem to be struggling is translating the concepts of how Lancaster wants to play (e.g. the tempo game we keep hearing about) into something tangible we see on the pitch. I hope he has another look at the structure when he gets back, e.g. topline defence and skills specialists who could also support midweek teams in future tours. Yesterdays performance, especially from the pack, made me question the strength of the backup coaches further.

      Also look at Meyer, brand new in role, no prep time, yes a much more experienced core of players, but from 30 mins onwards they were executing their game plan as their coaches expected. With England what the game plan actually is has not yet been crystal clear.

      I’m 100% convinced he is the right man to lead us forward, but I think more work is required to ensure he has a world class coaching team below him. For now fair play on not picking a safety first selection and looking to turn things around from last week not just more of the same.

      1. Can’t agree more.

        Have not had an opportunity to see either game so far, very annoyingly, but am hoping to be in the right place this Saturday! I’m sure that I will be posting more if I do get to see it!!

  16. Really excited about the backs, Manu should get more ball now and he will carry a lot. JJ, well lets see hope he does well.

    I’m surprised Waldron didn’t even make the bench, i think he offers more brains and brawn than dowson, and I can’t see Morgan lasting 80 min, although I like Ben for the future.

    I’m not convinced about Farrell at all, sure he kicks well but it takes more than that to be a fly half. flood has some options outside him now lets see him use them, he can pass a ball.

    Glad to see SL offering ben Youngs some confidence, maybe all the box kicks were tactical last week, myabe he’ll feel more comfrotable with flood, hope so.

    it’s really nice to look forward to an England game rather than complain about selections.

  17. Good selection Lancaster. Lets just hope Youngs scraps the box kicking, and we spread the ball. Other than Habana and Houghard, we look a betty side in the backs. Big game for Marler as well. Come on England!

  18. Looks like a nice selection. I would have liked to see Care or Dickson on for Youngs though at 9. For me Youngs just dithers too much at the back of the ruck, really destroying at “high tempo” game plan SL has in mind, last thing we want to do is kick the ball back to the Spring Boks.

    Hopefully will be a good, enjoyable game though, c’mon England!

    1. Youngs will be much more confident with Flood outside him. They compliment each others play very well.

    1. Anyone else getting the impression that SL is a lucky manager? Maybe a strtange this to say following an injury, but it enables him to make the selection that most people thought was right, without having to drop a player he rates and to be fair has not done much wrong.

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