England coach warns team of SA backlash

2010-11-26 00:00

LEWIS Moody is back as England captain and manager Martin Johnson has returned to the team that thumped Australia for tomorrow’s international against South Africa at Twickenham.

Johnson, making four changes, has recalled all his big guns for what promises to be a torrid Test match. Flanks Moody and Tom Croft, centre Mike Tindall and prop Dan Cole are back after being rested last Saturday when England beat Samoa 26-13.

Moody and Croft take over from Hendre Fourie, a South African, and James Haskell at openside and blindside flank, Cole replaces David Wilson at tighthead prop and Tindall dislodges Matt Banahan at outside centre.

Fourie, Wilson and Banahan are on the bench and the massive British Lions lock Simon Shaw also joins the replacements.

England have lost their last six games to the Boks but only two players, number eight Nick Easter and lock Tom Palmer, played in the last Test when the home team were beaten 42-6 at Twickenham in 2008.

Johnson warned his side to expect a South African backlash at Twickenham, following the Springboks’ upset defeat to Scotland while South African coach Peter de Villers is expecting the toughest match of the UK tour.

England are confident after losing narrowly to the All Blacks and then easily beating the Wallabies. Johnson, however, is wary.

“The Boks won’t collapse under the pressure. They are world champions and they still have a lot of experience in the group. They have a huge amount of pride in being the Springboks, as we do with England. That is the fun. They are big occasions these Test matches,” said the England manager.

“We are going to have to play very well to beat South Africa. That hasn’t changed in the history of the game. They are a really good team.”

De Villiers admitted he is feeling the pressure after his side finished bottom of the Tri-Nations.

“Yes, the pressure is there. There is always pressure in this job. You should take this job and see how grey you become in five weeks.

“There are 22 players around you, but there are the hopes of 43 million people at stake in every game.

“But that is the sort of pressure that Martin [Johnson] will experience too, and all of us coaches. You never get used to it. It just goes on and on.

“The Murrayfield performance wasn’t a true reflection of the talent in this squad and the players want to put that right and end the Test season on a high,” said De Villiers.

Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, who was at flyhalf when the Boks gained their record win over England in 2008, remembers the day well.

“It was a good performance and it was a great day for us as a team,” he said.

“Yes, Twickenham is a place where I feel confident, we did well there last time, and I am looking forward to playing there again.

“We didn’t have a good day against Scotland, but need to look to the future, the lows are part of the game and you have to recover from them and just get on with it.

“We know we have a massive Test on Saturday, and there is a lot of hard work to do. But we know that we need the win to boost our confidence ahead of what is going to be a tough season next year.”

Tomorrow’s Test kicks off at 4.30 pm.

England team (15-1)

Ben Foden; Chris Ashton, Mike Tindall, Shontayne Hape, Mark Cueto; Toby Flood, Ben Youngs; Nick Easter, Lewis Moody, Tom Croft; Tom Palmer, Courtney Lawes; Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley, Andrew Sheridan

Replacements: Steve Thompson, Matt Banahan, Danny Care, Hendre Fourie, David Wilson, Simon Shaw, Charlie Hodgson

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