Can Danny Cipriani halt England’s losing run?
Danny Cipriani makes his first start for England in 10 years as Eddie Jones looks for only his third win in 2018 after losing the series to South Africa last weekend 2-0 in Bloemfontein.
The Springboks clinched the series last Saturday after a 23-12 win in the second Test and a 42-39 victory in the opening Test at Ellis Park, with England blowing early leads in both defeats.
Cipriani impressed in a short cameo off the bench last week and the rugby public have been crying out for his inclusion after two impressive seasons for Wasps in the English Premiership. Is he the man to turn Jones terrible 2018 around in Cape Town?
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) June 16, 2018
England and Eddie Jones’ woes continued last weekend as they made it six defeats from eight games this year and the vultures have circled with a section of the rugby public questioning the ex-Japan coach’s credentials ahead of next year’s World Cup. Jones is in dire need of a win and has placed his faith in the mercurial Cipriani.
The tourists will also be without the ever present Vunipola brothers with Billy out injured and Mako who is returning back home for the birth of his first child. Nathan Hughes and Joe Marler come into the starting team to replace the duo.
Jones will be frustrated by the fact that despite strong starts and impressive overall performances in both matches in the series so far, they’ve been their own worst enemy through a lack of discipline and poor decision making in key moments. England didn’t seem to learn from their mistakes in the first match in Johannesburg, can they finally rectify them on Saturday in Durban despite the series being lost?
England team to face South Africa: E Daly (Wasps); J May (Leicester Tigers), H Slade (Exeter Chiefs), O Farrell (Saracens, capt), M Brown (Harlequins); D Cipriani (Wasps), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers); J Marler (Harlequins), J George (Saracens), K Sinckler (Harlequins), J Launchbury (Wasps), M Itoje (Saracens), C Robshaw (Harlequins), T Curry (Sale Sharks), N Hughes (Wasps).
Replacements: L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), A Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), H Williams (Exeter Chiefs), J Hill (Exeter Chiefs), M Wilson (Newcastle Falcons), S Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs), B Spencer (Saracens), D Solomona (Sale Sharks).
Not many would have believed you this time last year that 12 months later they’d have clinched a series win over England and be one victory away from a whitewash. What a difference a year makes…
South Africa endured the year England are having, in 2017 the Springboks won just seven games from a possible 13 matches with Allister Coetzee getting the sack and Rassie Erasmus replacing him in March. The ex-Munster coach couldn’t have asked for a better start to life as head coach with a series victory over Eddie Jones already on his CV.
Erasmus will be hoping for a clean sweep and will fancy his chances against a struggling England side. He’s made four changes to his starting XV with Saracens favourite Schalk Brits on the bench. Duane Vermeulen will look to cause havoc again on Saturday after England had no answer for the former Toulon man in Bloemfontein.
South Africa team to face England: W Gelant (Bulls); S Nkosi (Sharks), J Kriel (Bulls), A Esterhuizen (Sharks), A Dyantyi (Lions); E Jantjies (Lions), F de Klerk (Sale Sharks); T Mtawarira (Sharks), C Ralepelle (Sharks), F Malherbe (Stormers); RG Snyman (Bulls), F Mostert (Lions); S Kolisi (Stormers), PS du Toit (Stormers), D Vermeulen (Unattached).
Replacements: S Brits (Unattached), S Kitshoff (Stormers), T du Toit (Sharks), JL du Preez (Sharks), S Notshe (Stormers), E Papier (Bulls), H Pollard (Bulls), W le Roux (Wasps).