June 22 2012
England travel to Port Elizabeth on Saturday looking for a consolation win ahead of the autumn Test, with a team showing five changes to the one that started last weekend.
England look to finish on a high in final Test
With the Test series victor decided, England travel to their final stop on tour, Port Elizabeth, looking to end the season on a high and notch up a consolation victory.
South Africa sealed the win last week with an incredible opening twenty minutes in which they scored three tries against a shell-shocked England. With the Springbok forwards on the rampage, making inroads with every destructive carry, England's physicality and ability to front up was severely tested. England did however receive some praise for the manner in which they rallied in the second-half but it was not enough to prevent Heyneke Meyer getting his Springboks tenure off to a winning start.
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster has made five changes from last weekend's team. Tom Palmer steps in for Mouritz Botha's in the second-row after a below-par display the previous week. James Haskell gets the nod in place of the injured Chris Robshaw with Thomas Waldrom starting in Ben Morgan's place. Danny Care starts at scrum-half alongside Toby Flood with the centres staying the same. Alex Goode gets the nod at fullback with Ben Foden once again moving onto the wing.
England have also been forced into a late change for this weekend's match after prop Alex Corbisiero suffered a recurrence of a knee injury. Corbisiero was originally expected to return to the starting line-up after missing the first Test and coming off the bench in the second, but Lancaster has been forced to promote Joe Marler into the starting line-up once again, with Paul Doran-Jones on the bench.
It's a blow England could have done without, given Corbisiero's impressive form this season in an England shirt, as well as the big losses already suffered with captain Robshaw and livewire scrum-half Ben Youngs forced to sit out of the match. Once replacements had been made on both sides, the scrum was an area England could take significant positives from, pushing their opponents around the park in the last half hour, and Lancaster will have hoped for a similar display from the start in the Third Test.
Danny Care is a like for like replacement for Youngs, and his and half-back partner Flood's experience will steady a very green centre partnership.
Defence will have been a key focus in the England camp this season, an hopeless 35 tackles were missed last weekend, and the lapses in concentration were no more evident than when Lancaster's men allowed South African winger JP Pietersen to glide through half his side on his way to what proved to be the victory-sealing try. With the series gone, pride is at stake.
- England's biggest win was 53-3 at Twickenham in 2002.
- The Springboks' biggest victory was 58-10 at Bloemfontein in 2007.
- South Africa have won their last nine Test matches against England, including the 2007 World Cup final and a 42-6 win at Twickenham in 2008 which was England's heaviest ever home defeat.
- England will have two players making their first Test starts in Port Elizabeth in Alex Goode and Thomas Waldrom, who both won their first caps off the bench last week.
- South Africa have one debutant in their side in flanker Jacques Potgieter. Another uncapped player, Elton Jantjies, is on the bench.
- England fly-half Toby Flood and South Africa number eight Pierre Spies are both poised to win their 50th caps.
England: A Goode; C Ashton, J Joseph, M Tuilagi, B Foden; T Flood, D Care; J Marler, D Hartley (capt), D Cole, T Palmer, G Parling, T Johnson, J Haskell, T Waldrom.
Replacements: L Mears, P Doran Jones, M Botha, P Dowson, L Dickson, O Farrell, B Barritt.
South Africa: G Aplon; J P Pietersen, J de Villiers (capt), W Olivier, B Habana; M Steyn, F Hougaard; T Mtawarira, B du Plessis, J du Plessis, E Etzebeth, J Kruger, M Coetzee, J Potgieter, P Spies.
Replacements: A Strauss, W Kruger, F van der Merwe, R Kankowski, R Pienaar, B Basson, E Jantjies.