England team to face South Africa in 3rd Test

Stuart Lancaster has handed a first start to full back Alex Goode of Saracens, with Ben Foden moving back to the left wing spot he occupied during the 1st Test. Danny Care starts at scrum-half as a replacement for the injured Ben Youngs, with Alex Corbisiero, Tom Palmer, James Haskell and Thomas Waldrom all joining the pack. Dylan Hartley captains the side in the absence of Chris Robshaw.

15. Alex Goode, 14. Chris Ashton, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Manu Tuilagi, 11. Ben Foden, 10. Toby Flood, 9. Danny Care; 1. Alex Corbisiero, 2. Dylan Hartley (c), 3. Dan Cole, 4. Tom Palmer, 5. Geoff Parling, 6. Tom Johnson, 7. James Haskell, 8. Thomas Waldrom


16. Lee Mears, 17. Joe Marler, 18. Mouritz Botha, 19. Phil Dowson, 20. Lee Dickson, 21. Owen Farrell, 22. Brad Barritt

42 thoughts on “England team to face South Africa in 3rd Test

  1. Decent looking team, shame about our injuries, would have loved to see Lawes and Croft in the tests, but it’s given an opportunity for others. Not sure on Goode, would prefer to have brown back there. We’re desperate for a left winger.

    Happy we finally have Care starting, hes got a big game.

  2. A big and heavy back row. Although I can’t argue with the selection. Will they be dynamic enough at the break-down?

  3. I don’t understand why we would pick Barritt on the bench. Farrell covers 10 and 12, and if we have an injury in the back three, the whole back line has to change. I would have thought a winger would have been a better choice. If Barritt is part of the first choice centre pairing (as he was 3 weeks ago) he either starts or misses out for me.

    Trying to remain positive….

    1. Agree but i think that SL see’s our back three and Manu and JJ as sufficient ‘dynamic’ cover.

  4. Our back line is strong, probably our best back line in any game, with the exception of Mike Brown for Goode.

    But the pack… I’m thinking we might struggle. I don’t know about how Hartley may do as captain: he’s a good player, but a captain? Maybe. I’ll trust SL on that one, though.

    The front row is strong, but behind that? The locks and the back row really need to have a blinder if we are to win this. Our three strongest flankers out injured gives a chance to Johnson and Haskell to push for a place in the team, but that’s really the only positive. If you call it a positive.

    1. Haskel has been around for years and proved that hes not half the player Robshaw is, I can’t ever see him taking the shirt again.

  5. For the elective changes agree with Strettle and Morgan out along with Marler and Botha benched. Sensible changes on form. I would have gone for JJ wing, Barritt 12 and Foden 15 as I don’t think Goode is as strong as Brown so I don’t think it’s worth moving Foden out of his best position to accomodate, in my opinion, a less effective player.

    Thought Youngs may have done enough to replace Mears, and Fearns enough to replace Dowson.

    Robshaws breakdown game has improved so much, I think it is now unfair to say “he isn’t a proper fetcher 7” s, tough job for Haskell.

    1. I think Foden on the wing (all round a more experienced player, and better tackler) is much safer than JJ on the wing. Goode is a sound full back very comfortable under the high ball and dangerous in broken play. He also has a good boot on him. So to play one experience full back on the wing and play another class full back at full back is much more sound than playing a great outside centre with two caps on the wing.

      1. JJ does also play wing for Irish, and performed far better than Strettle when moved out there last week. As you say Goode is solid under high ball and can kick but he is also smaller, slower and less powerful than Foden and JJ, so this line up means we have opted for less pace and physicality in the back 3 and Barritt occupying a bench spot.

        Still it is a plus that we will get chance to see how he goes, every good international was just a good club player before they played an international, so we will learn if he can make the step up or not.

  6. Having not seen it, I got the impression that Haskell didn’t live up to expectations when he played in the midweek game last week, so that is a concern.

    Glad to see Care back, the in-form scrum half imho. I know ben Youngs had a brilliant game last weekend, but for me his pass is still not strong enough, and whilst Care’s isn’t as good as Dickson’s, it is better than Youngs. Hopefully that can give Flood a bit of time on the ball and bring our backline into the game. It is a good backline, I just hope we try and utilize Manu as both a platform to place the first phase off of, but also a decoy runner to give Josephs a whiff of a gap.

    1. A sound assessment of the scrum half situation indeed – Care probably suits the type of game we need to play better than Dickson as well.

  7. Not a fan of “no rugby brain” Haskell, but can’t see that SL could have done anything else for the starting 15. Can’t, for the life of me, understand Barritt and Mears on the bench and I don’t seem to be the only one! Not sure I can argue with the rest of the subs though.

  8. Marler aside that is an appalling bench. Lancaster does not know how to use the bench for impact. Until his fitness improves Morgan screams impact player and I thought Youngs had done enough to replace the passed it Mears. Barrett for me either starts or is not in the 22. Where is the reward for Abendanon, May and Youngs performing well? Haskell and Dowson owe some big performances if they are to repay Lancaster’s faith in them.

    Lancaster needs an Eddie Jones type figure in the set up that Jake White had.

    1. Totally agree with this. We know what Mears and Dowson bring (and its not much in the way of impact). Surely this would have been a great chance to blood players like Youngs and Fearns

      Also agree with Barritt either starting on not playing. He’s hardly the game breaker you want coming on at the 60 min mark.

      Would liked to have seen May there as he can cover the centres and the back three and he may have something just a little special

      Haskell had better play out of his skin or I’d rather not see him near an England shirt again

      Unfortunately without Robshaw, I think this team lacks leaders. I don’t think Hartley has been performaing that well over the last two weeks. Am pleased they don’t have to face Alberts or Steyn but have a horrible feeling we will get pasted

    2. Sadly we seem to be carrying on the Ashton/ Jonno tradition of having a contingency bench rather than an impact bench. No doubt SL knows the exact point (injuries permitting) when he will make his substitutions regardless of how the game is flowing or whether the momentum is with England. The Farrell substitution was terrible decision given that England were starting to gell, albeit stillmaking some duff decsions, but none as bad as Farrell’s aimless kick that set up another Bok attack.

  9. What does goode bring that may or abendanon don’t? If I’m honest I think goode is a decent club player but no where near international standard, would rather have had Johnny may in considering he can cover most of the back line positions and he’s rapid. Goode to slow and not physical enough. Barritt brings nothing from the bench except an option to shore up the defensive line to minimise damage if it goes badly. Think SL needs to go away and have a word with himself about bench and form. Think its ridiculous that a pecking order still exists within the squad.

  10. And another thing. What happended to SL’s stated aim of identifying potential players for 2015 and using what limited time we had to give them as much experience and as many caps as possible enought to get us tot he 600 cap benchmark that all pundits go on about as being the minimum requirement for winning a world cup. How does picking Dowson, Mears, Botha, Waldrom, Hodgeson, Karl Dickson & Johnson fit in with that? Giving 29 yr olds debuts seems a bit of a waste of time IMO, as they will inevitbaly be stop gaps rather than long term options. It just all feels a bit muddled. I really hope AF comes back post tour for defence and that SL recruits an experienced and proven attack coach from the SH (preferably Kiwi).

    1. I don’t think players who will be 32 or 33 come 2015 should be out of the reckoning (Brad Thorn has shown you can still be at the top level well beyond that).

      That said I do think players such as Mears and Dowson have now had a chance and not really shown they have (or more specifically have left) what it takes to be top class internationals and I would rather have seen us learn more about a Youngs and a Fearn.

      1. I take your point but usually by age 28/29 top players have already got a wealth of experience. If these players were good enough they’d have already made it.

        1. Dowson should have made it around three years ago (about the same time he moved to Northampton from Newcastle) – he was one of the best back rows in the Prem then and everybody was of the view he should be capped. Thanks to the catastrophic management we had in place at the time that didn’t happen, and England have missed his prime years. Still a massively smart player and a good leader, but unfortunately he’s lost the edge he used to have.

          1. Completely agree with that, it seems to me that Lancaster feels a sense of injustice over it and is giving him every opportunity to rediscover his best form. I for one really hoped he would, however being objective about it I’ve seen nothing in the white shirted performances this year to suggest he is going to be able to become a good international unfortunately.

  11. There are a lot of comments regarding Barritt on the bench, mostly negative ones. I think SL may want to look at a Barritt/JJ combination at some point in the game. Last week in the first 20 minutes our defensive line went walkabout. Unfortunately Tuilagi is not an organiser in that defensive line, and neither is Flood as he has enough on his plate.

      1. I think starting with Barritt and JJ could be better, and bring on Tuilagi for JJ later in the game to batter some tired bodies into submission.

  12. Thinking about it ….. is this the slowest bench we have ever had in any era for an international?

    1. I would still rather have this team, and this bench than have Tindall, Banahan and Easter to name but a few in the squad.

  13. In a five match tour I think you have to give people game time, I think Haskell has only played a half so far after impressing in SH and SL needs him going forward. Players mature and hopefully the spot of traveling with have done him good. I think this pack with more experience and bulk will be strong. In the backs, the centres didn’t really get a look much in the last game so have to try that combo again and see what happens. It’s a chance to see if Goode has the temperament for the test arena.
    Agreed the bench doesn’t cream ‘impact’ but there has to be some sort of pecking order and logical progression for players in terms of Mears and Barritt, would be harsh to drop them.
    I, bravely, predict an England win! Don’t let me down lads :)

    1. Thoroughly agree with you. I think this is the best that we could have hoped for.

      These are the players that Lancaster trusts, and we owe it to him to believe in what he thinks. The others (May, Youngs, Wade etc) will get there chance. Not in the Third Test against SA when we are about to get white-washed though.

      Come on England!

  14. Everybody is talking about the backs, but it’s all about the pack, if they don’t front up we could be in for a long night. Robshaw will be a huge loss and I don’t see us stealing much ball on the floor with those 3 on the field, Waldron deserves a shot he is clam and might bring that calmness to the field.

    Haskell is a waste of space, always has been, he is a gym product, good at lifting weights and not much else.

    I can’t understand why everybody is so pleased youngs is out, he was Englands one attacking option last week, and one of the few players whi stood up didn’t get scarred and looked generally pissed off at losing, he injured himself on a last ditch attempt to stop peterson, took a really high tackle of alberts and still scored, he is a tough player and a real competitor, we can’t do without him.

    1. The reason a lot of people are not bothered about Youngs being out is because he is so inconsistent. In the first test, he was making poor decisions, providing slow ball, bad passes, and putting in some dreadful pointless box kicks. And then in the second test with Flood outside him he was more positive and played really well. There’s just no telling which Ben Youngs is going to turn up on the day.

      Care has been itching to get his chance to re-prove himself after his discretions off the pitch, and I’m glad to see him back. He has is downsides, but has earned a chance and I hope he takes it.

  15. I don’t think anyone is actually pleased Youngs is out.

    But there is no argument that Danny Care was the form English scrum-half at the end of the premiership season. It will be good to see him try and translate that form to the international arena

    The more competition for the shirt, the better.

    1. I hope SL doesn’t have any predetermined plans to substitute props as the scrum will be the reverse of what happened last week after subs came on, as PDJ is on the bench. He hasn’t had the best of tours.

      1. That’s a shame, would have liked to see what Marler could offer from the bench rather than starting. Think he’d make a good impact player

        Very tough tour for PDJ

        Do we actually have anyone in england who can play both sides of the scrum though? (with the exception of Stevens)

        1. Stevens may play both sides of the scrum but he doesn’t do either very well! Corbs in my opinion is a BIG loss, when he came on last week he played well and he has been consistent in an England shirt.

          Marler is a good player and can only benefit from this tour, I hope PDJ ups his game. Now can we just find a replacement for Lee Mears?!!

    2. Too bad for England – now we only have two good props remaining. I think Corbs is a bit better than Marler, but it’s not much. Marler is far better than the rest of the props though.

      1. Even with my Quins specs on I reckon Corbs is better too but Marler has been solid all tour and I think they’ll both be in reckoning come 2015!

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