England need to stop Bok ball-carriers Lancaster
England head into the second test against South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday.
JOHANNESBURG - England head into the second test against South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday aware they must find a way to combat the Springboks ball-carriers if they are to keep the three-match series alive.
Stuart Lancaster's side were bullied into submission in the second half of the first test in Durban last weekend, before losing 22-17, and South Africa's forwards, led by flanker Willem Alberts, were the main perpetrators as front-foot ball allowed them to surge regularly deep into the opposition half.
England has retained the same forward pack that lost at Kings Park but Lancaster is hopeful a shuffled backline will provide more stability in defence and extra verve on attack.
"We need to be defensively strong and robust enough to deal with their big ball-carriers coming around the corner and off the back of the lineout," Lancaster said.
""In the last five minutes of the (first) test, when we had more ball, we did cause them some trouble and we'll be trying to penetrate in wider channels."
Manu Tuilagi has shifted to inside centre, replacing the injured Brad Barritt, with Jonathan Joseph set to make his first test start in the number 13 jersey.
Both are aged just 21 but off-setting some of their inexperience is the return of Toby Flood to flyhalf, in place of Owen Farrell.
The Springboks have made just one, injury-enforced change with Pat Lambie replacing Zane Kirchner at fullback.
Captain Jean de Villiers warned his team would be an improved side after the first match and another full week of training together.
""Last week, the main thing was to just win and there were a lot of butterflies, including for me," De Villiers told reporters.
"We weren't great last Saturday, there's a helluva lot to improve, but this week things have happened more naturally.
"Last week we were a side with fantastic individuals but we weren't a team yet. We're closer now."
De Villiers added Tuilagi commanded extra attention but England would be better for having the experienced Flood, with 47 test caps to his name, at flyhalf.
""Toby's experience counts for a lot. He has a good passing game and he kicks well, so I think he'll make a big difference."
Ellis Park is widely regarded as one of the most daunting venues in world rugby and with ground some 1,763 metres above sea level, the conditions will undoubtedly suit South Africa's much-vaunted kicking game.
"I imagine they'll use the same formula which was pretty successful last week. We have to prepare for their kicking game and put pressure on Morne Steyn," Lancaster said.
"When they got momentum in the second half, they had tremendous ball-carries, so we need to defend better."
South Africa: 15-Pat Lambie, 14-JP Pietersen, 13-Jean de Villiers, 12-Francois Steyn, 11-Bryan Habana, 10-Morne Steyn, 9-Francois Hougaard, 8-Pierre Spies, 7-Willem Alberts, 6-Marcell Coetzee, 5-Juandre Kruger, 4-Eben Etzebeth, 3-Jannie du Plessis, 2-Bismarck du Plessis, 1-Tendai Mtawarira. Bench: 16-Adriaan Strauss, 17-Werner Kruger, 18-Flip van der Merwe, 19-Keegan Daniel, 20-Ruan Pienaar, 21-Wynand Olivier, 22-Bjorn Basson.
England: 15-Ben Foden, 14-Chris Ashton, 13-Jonathan Joseph, 12-Manusamoa Tuilagi, 11-David Strettle, 10-Toby Flood, 9-Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7-Chris Robshaw, 6-Tom Johnson, 5-Geoff Parling, 4-Mouritz Botha, 3-Dan Cole, 2-Dylan Hartley, 1-Joe Marler. Replacements: 16-Lee Mears, 17-Alex Corbisiero, 18-Tom Palmer, 19-Thomas Waldrom, 20-Lee Dickson, 21-Owen Farrell, 22-Alex Goode.
Referee - Alain Rolland (Ireland)