Joseph relishing Boks challenge
June 15, 2012
Jonathan Joseph and Manu Tuilagi will look to create havoc in the Boks' defence on Saturday © Getty Images
Jonathan Joseph is adamant that he is ready for international rugby with his first Test start coming in the rugby cauldron that is Ellis Park.
Joseph made his Test bow for England last weekend against South Africa when he came onto the field with just three minutes of the game remaining. England are now 1-0 down in the Test series and following Brad Barritt's injury, Joseph has been handed the outside centre berth for the match in Johannesburg.
The 21-year-old will come up against 73-cap veteran and Springboks captain Jean de Villiers but Joseph is still going to aim to play his natural game and not let the magnitude of the situation get to him.
"It'd be pointless being on the pitch if I wasn't going to give it a real go," Joseph said. "I'm just going to stick to my game and hopefully it'll go well.
"I'm looking forward to the defensive challenges as well as the attacking opportunities. They're big boys but I'm ready to challenge them. I'm looking forward to it, I want to go out there and prove a point."
Joseph will lineup alongside Manu Tuilagi with Tuilagi shifting inside to the number 12 shirt. Communication will be an essential aspect of that partnership and Joseph is confident that their styles can complement each other.
"Manu has worked on that and he's been great this week," Joseph said. "The way he plays he can draw players in and there'll be space out wide.
"We've got pace there and also the option of Manu crashing through the middle as well. I played with Manu at Under-18s and with all the boys at Under-20s as well. At Under-18 level we were a very strong side - I don't think we got beaten.
"We ran everything and everything came off. It's not going to be like that this time - there are going to be fewer opportunities - but we're comfortable with the way we play off each other."
But Joseph will have to be at his best to prevent his opposite number De Villiers getting a foothold in the game. "The main thing for us is to improve," De Villiers said ahead of the second Test. "Last week I think we were happy to just get away with a win because the butterflies were there - the guys were a little bit nervous, including myself and the coach.
"But now it is a week later and we have looked at the video and seen there is a lot to improve on. We weren't great on Saturday and we managed just to get the win.
"But we need to improve at the right time, we need to improve on our attack and even our set phases can improve a lot. It's all about improving and taking an upward step as a team. That is the main thing for us and hopefully, if we do that we get the right result."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards Rewinds to 1975 when three Welsh legends were handed their debuts and assesses their legacy
Seven places in the Champions Cup quarter-finals are up for grabs; we break down the permutations for each group in the final round of matches
"Easter must show he is built in the Lancaster blueprint despite having not featured on the England radar until now," writes Tom Hamilton
Monday Maul reflects on a stark setback against Saracens for Munster and ponders what it all means for the Irish provinces in the Champions Cup