England look for morale-boosting win
June 21, 2012
Danny Care starts at scrum-half for England © Getty Images
England travel to Port Elizabeth on Saturday looking for a consolation win ahead of the autumn Tests.
South Africa took the Test series last Saturday thanks to a stunning opening 18 minutes in which they scored three tries with the eventual score 36-27 to the Boks. England received some praise for the manner in which they rallied in the second-half but it was not enough to prevent Heyneke Meyer getting his Springboks tenure off to a winning start.
Stuart Lancaster's side are still in the embryonic stages of their development but a 3-0 series loss will be a blot on his otherwise impressive start as England coach. With a victory over the SA Barbarians (North) midweek under their belts, Lancaster will hope his side can continue that winning mentality against South Africa on Saturday.
South Africa - Player to Watch: JP Pietersen's 50-yard run was the standout piece of individual brilliance in an otherwise tense and restrictive Test last weekend. If given the ball in space, expect Pietersen to take full advantage of any weaknesses in the England defence.
South Africa - Team News: Meyer has made three changes to the side that defeated England with Gio Aplon starting at fullback ahead of Pat Lambie. Jaques Potgieter is handed his debut in the back-row in place of Willem Alberts while Wynand Olivier gets the nod in the centres with Francois Steyn absent.
England - Player to Watch: All eyes will be on Danny Care. He is handed his first Test start since last August and after putting his off-field strife to one side - he has the chance to tie down the scrum-half berth ahead of the autumn internationals. It is harsh on Ben Youngs who was superb in the second Test, but with him injured, Care will look to impress.
England - Team News: England make five changes from the side that lost to the Springboks last weekend. Tom Palmer steps into Mouritz Botha's shoes in the second-row. James Haskell gets the nod in place of the injured Chris Robshaw with Thomas Waldrom starting in Ben Morgan's place. Danny Care starts at scrum-half alongside Toby Flood with the centres staying the same. Alex Goode gets the nod at fullback with Ben Foden moving on to the wing. Alex Corbisiero was set to start the Test but he was forced to withdraw the day before, so Joe Marler regained his spot in the front-row.
Key Battle: James Haskell is up against Marcell Coetzee in the back-row. Haskell last played for England in the 2011 World Cup and with him returning to Wasps next season, he will look to stake his claim ahead of the autumn test. Coetzee was huge last weekend for the Springboks and they will hope for a similar performance.
Trivia: Jacques Potgieter will be South Africa's 834th Springbok. It is appropriate that he will make his Test debut in Port Elizabeth, his place of birth.
Stats: Toby Flood gets his 50th cap for England at the weekend and his 23rd start. That puts him just ahead of Dave Davies and fifth behind Paul Grayson (24), Charlie Hodgson (26), Rob Andrew (68) and Jonny Wilkinson (75).
" He has done well, he is a captain, a warrior. I think he is a great leader ." - Heyneke Meyer praises Chris Robshaw
" The guys did the shirt proud in Potchefstroom on Tuesday and I have no doubt that the 22 involved on Saturday will rise to this final challenge as we look to end this almost 12-month season on a high." - England's Stuart Lancaster
Prediction: South Africa will complete the series whitewash with a narrow victory
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September