Match Preview: Launchbury returns as Jones makes minor changes

Joe Launchbury after the game 4/2/2018
Joe Launchbury returns to the England team for the second Test against South Africa in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Joe Launchbury returns to the England team for the second Test against South Africa in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Joining him in the pack as the only other change to the starting line-up will be Wasps-bound Hurricanes flanker Brad Shields, who will see his first start in an England jersey having been brought into the squad by Eddie Jones for the series.   Danny Cipriani, who last played for England against France before the 2015 Rugby World Cup, is named as a finisher, while Chris Robshaw falls out of the squad and Mark Wilson comes onto the bench.   Following the 42-39 defeat in the first Test on June 9, when England led 24-3 after 20 minutes but let the Springboks back into the game, Jones will be hoping to see a response from his team.   The loss came as England’s fifth in a row, following defeats to Scotland, France and Ireland in the NatWest 6 Nations, before another in an uncapped fixtures against the Barbarians in May.

What they said   Eddie Jones said: “We have come here to win the series against South Africa and the squad is ready to go out and beat them this weekend. We have had a very good preparation this week and the intensity and executions in those sessions are going to put us in a good position for Saturday.

“The way the team have come together has been superb. Owen Farrell, with a number of the senior players, has really moulded the squad together. They are working hard to improve their game to make sure we win.

“Based on South Africa’s likely selection of an extra lineout jumper we have decided to start with Brad Shields, which improves our lineout. It is tough on Chris Robshaw as he has been an outstanding player for us but I know he will bounce back.

“Danny Cipriani will come onto the bench, as we are looking for something a little bit different to finish the game, which he can bring. He’s been training well and doing everything that has been asked of him.

“When you have a win like South Africa did on Saturday you come into the game with a bit of confidence so we have to make sure we dent the Springboks’ confidence early. Bloemfontein is a very fast ground at altitude.

“It has an average of 60 points per Test match so we are anticipating an ebb-and-flow type game like we had in Johannesburg.”

Ben Youngs said: “Training has been good, the mood in the camp is good and everyone is desperate to make sure we get the result. We are here to win a series and we still have an opportunity to do that.   “I’m confident at the weekend we can put things right and put in a performance that as an England player we want to do. We train hard to get the result and I feel we are more than capable of doing that.”   Opposition   Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira will make his 100th Test appearance for South Africa in Bloemfontein, becoming only the sixth Springbok to reach this special milestone.   Frans Malherbe makes a return to the front row after a lengthy absence due to injury, while the only other change to the starting line-up comes at flanker as Pieter-Steph du Toit replaces Jean-Luc du Preez.   Head coach Rassie Erasmus said: “Much like a typical front rower, ‘Beast’ is not someone who likes the spotlight.   “However, his contribution to Springbok rugby during the past decade has been enormous and I want to congratulate him on reaching 100 Test caps for South Africa.   “It is a special achievement and while he deserves the accolades, I know he will be totally focussed on the most important job, and that is to face an extremely determined England side.”   Man of the match from the first test Faf de Klerk is another who will pose a threat, as he set the blistering tempo and covered masses of ground to help South Africa to victory in Johannesburg.

Key stat   England conceded 12 penalties in the first test, while the Springboks gave away just five.

England team to face South Africa:

15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 19 caps) 14 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 35 caps) 13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 11 caps) 12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 59 caps) 11 Mike Brown (Harlequins, 70 caps) 10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 46 caps) 9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 75 caps)   1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 50 caps) 2 Jamie George (Saracens, 26 caps) 3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 11 caps) 4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 52 caps) 5 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 20 caps) 6 Brad Shields (Hurricanes/ Wasps, 1 cap) 7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 2 cap) 8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 35 caps)     Replacements:

16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 6 caps) 17 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 57 caps) 18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 9 caps) 19 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 2 caps) 20 Nathan Hughes (Wasps, 15 caps) 21 Ben Spencer (Saracens, 1 cap) 22 Danny Cipriani (Wasps, 14 caps) 23 Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks, 3 caps)