Lancaster rejigs England backline

2012-06-15 00:00

ENGLAND coach Stuart Lancaster has made his attacking intentions clear in rejigging his backline for the second Test against the Springboks at Ellis Park tomorrow evening.

Lancaster yesterday made five changes – two positional – from the team beaten 22-17 and it is the change at flyhalf which underlines his determination to test the Boks’ backline rather than turn to international into another forward battle.

England were more direct and effective when the experienced Toby Flood was on the field for the closing quarter of the Durban Test and he has taken over from ace goalkicker Owen Farrell at flyhalf. The burly, confrontational Manu Tuilagi, who spent the Durban Test running at and over Jean de Villiers, has moved to inside centre, taking over from the injured Brad Barritt.

In a third change, the smooth-running Jonathan Joseph will start his first England international at outside centre while Ben Foden moves to fullback for the injured Mike Brown and David Strettle is included on the left wing.

There are no changes to the pack, but Alex Corbisiero, in place of Paul Doran Jones, and Alex Goode, who takes over from Toby Flood, join the bench.

Lancaster said yesterday he was enthusiastic about the backline changes.

“I am delighted for JJ (Joseph). He has trained very well and he is ready to make the step to international rugby. To have two 21-year-old centres is exciting and we are looking forward to seeing this combination in action.”

He said that the 20-year-old Farrell, who failed to provide his backline with direction in the first Test and played well behind the advantage line, would still play a part tomorrow.

“Owen has had a fantastic season and I am sure he will make a significant impact from the bench.

“However, Toby has waited patiently for his opportunity and the time is right to allow him the chance to demonstrate his experience and skills in what will be a very tough challenge.”

The Test kicks off at 5 pm tomorrow and England will have the advantage of a northern hemisphere referee in Irishman Alain Rolland.

England team – 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 David Strettle, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 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 Phil Dowson, 20 Lee Dickson, 21 Owen Farrell, 22 Alex Goode.

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