England ring the changes
November 20, 2012
Ben Morgan is poised to return to the England line-up for Saturday's showdown with South Africa © Getty Images
England are set to name a re-vamped line-up for their clash with South Africa on Saturday after releasing a host of players back to their clubs.
No.8 Thomas Waldrom, flanker Tom Johnson and winger Charlie Sharples have all been dropped in the wake of England's 20-14 defeat to Australia last weekend. In addition, loose-head prop Joe Marler has been ruled out of action with a knee ligament injury he suffered against the Wallabies.
Gloucester's Ben Morgan and Wasps' James Haskell have replaced Waldrom and Johnson in the 24-man squad preparing to tackle the Boks and look set to contest the No.8 shirt with Northampton's Tom Wood tipped to claim the blindside flanker berth.
London Irish centre Jonathan Joseph steps up in the place of Sharples having recovered from an ankle injury while his club-mate Alex Corbisiero fills the void left by the injured Marler and is expected to get the nod ahead of Saracens' Mako Vunipola.
"We have made some changes this week to freshen up the squad before the challenge of South Africa," Lancaster said. "Unfortunately that means one or two players miss out who were in the match day squad against Australia.
"But they have all added value with their contributions in training and the games and I am sure they will be looking to play well for their clubs and force their way back in.
"The changes however give opportunities to those who have been pushing hard and we feel will add energy and balance to the team ahead of the significant South African challenge."
Mouritz Botha has also been added to the squad as provisional injury cover for Geoff Parling, who is nursing a knee problem but the England medics expect him to be fit.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
With the World Cup only a few months away, the last thing France needed was doubts over the future of their coach, writes Huw Richards