England hope to tie up series against South Africa in Bloemfontein
England will be looking to end a five-game losing run on Saturday as they hope to tie the Test series in Bloemfontein against a resurgent South African side under Rassie Erasmus.
Eddie Jones will demand a strong response from his tourists after their capitulation last weekend, which saw his side race into a 24-3 lead only to eventually lose the opening Test match 42-39.
Victory on Saturday will seal a series win for the Springboks who have looked a different beast under new head coach Erasmus, with his first game in charge proving to be an encouraging one after a nightmare 2017.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) June 10, 2018
2018 has turned into the stuff of nightmares for Jones with England losing five of their seven games so far this year and the Australian will point to a lack of discipline. This will need to change if he’s to turn his sides fortunes around – England racked up 12 penalties in total to South Africa’s four at Ellis Park.
It’s not all doom and gloom for England, with influential lock Joe Launchbury returning from injury just in time for selection for the second Test and Jones will be thrilled with what he described as ‘one of the best opening 20 minutes by a visiting side at Ellis Park’.
If England can build on last weekend’s impressive start, address their ill-discipline and tighten up in defence they’ll more than likely tie up the series and claim a rare away win in South Africa.
Jones and his men can take small comfort from the fact that England’s last victory in South Africa came at Saturday’s venue with a 27-22 win in 2000.
England XI: Elliot Daly, Jonny May, Henry Slade, Owen Farrell, Mike Brown, George Ford, Ben Youngs; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Joe Launchbury, Maro Itoje, Brad Shields, Tom Curry, Billy Vunipola
Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Joe Marler, Harry Williams, Mark Wilson, Nathan Hughes, Ben Spencer, Danny Cipriani, Denny Solomona
Erasmus’ first Test match audition as Springbok coach couldn’t have gone better after showing great character to come from behind to beat England and the ex-Munster man will be hoping for more of the same in Bloemfontein.
The 36-time capped Springbok would have thanked his lucky stars for South Africa Rugby Union’s (SARU) recent decision to allow for selection of overseas club-based players. Wasps’ Willie le Roux, Toulon’s Duane Vermeulen and Sale’s Faf de Klerk were central to victory over the English – three influential players his predecessor Allister Coetzee didn’t have the luxury of choosing from.
History is also on South Africa’s side having won 10 of 14 matches played at home against England, losing only three in the process.
South Africa XI: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 1 Beast Mtawarira, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 3 Frans Malherbe, 4 RG Snyman, 5 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8 Duane Vermeulen.
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Sikumbuzo Notshe, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Jesse Kriel, 23 Warrick Gelant