England and Springboks set for Twickenham showdown
November 22, 2008
John Smit and Victor Matfield will be after a rousing final performance of the tour at Twickenham © Getty Images
England manager Martin Johnson has recalled blind-side flanker James Haskell for the showdown with world champions South Africa.
Haskell's inclusion in place of Tom Croft is the only change on Saturday to England's starting XV from last weekend's 28-14 defeat to Australia.
Croft is included among the replacements and is joined on the bench by uncapped Leicester No.8 Jordan Crane, who has replaced Michael Lipman in the squad. Otherwise, Johnson has kept faith with the tight five that struggled to impose themselves against the Wallabies and named the same back division for a third week running.
Haskell was one of the few England players to return from the summer tour of New Zealand with his reputation enhanced after two impressive performances against the All Blacks.
He lost his place to Croft, after making a slow start to the season in a struggling Wasps side. But Haskell made an immediate impression when he came off the bench last weekend and he will offer a more physical presence against the dynamic Springbok back row.
England have lost the services of prop Andrew Sheridan, who has been ruled out with a neck injury. Having originally been named in the starting XV, Sheridan has been replaced by Tim Payne of Wasps.
South Africa coach Peter de Villiers has made two changes to the team which beat Scotland last weekend for their season-ending Test against England.
Jannie du Plessis has come into the front row in place of brother Bismarck, who injured a hamstring at Murrayfield, and Danie Rossouw will start at flanker for Juan Smith, who took a knock to the head and was advised by doctors not to play.
Winger Bryan Habana was doubtful earlier in the week but is fit to start, and Brian Mujati, who has been struggling with a shoulder injury, was named among the replacements.
Jannie du Plessis will start at tight-head prop, with captain John Smit reverting to hooker.
England: D Armitage (London Irish); P Sackey (Wasps), J Noon (Newcastle), R Flutey (Wasps), U Monye (Harlequins); D Cipriani (Wasps), D Care (Harlequins); T Payne (Wasps), L Mears (Bath), P Vickery (Wasps), S Borthwick (Saracens, capt), T Palmer (Wasps), J Haskell (Wasps), T Rees (Wasps), N Easter (Harlequins)
Replacements: D Hartley (Northampton), M Stevens (Bath), S Shaw (Wasps), T Croft (Leicester), J Crane (Leicester), H Ellis (Leicester), T Flood (Leicester)
South Africa: B Mtawarira, J Smit, J du Plessis, B Botha, V Matfield, S Burger, D Rossouw, P Spies, R Januarie, R Pienaar, B Habana, J de Villiers, A Jacobs, JP Pietersen, C Jantjes.
Replacements: C Ralepelle, B Mujati, A Bekker, R Kankowski, H Brussow, F Steyn, J Fourie.
Referee: N. Owens (Wal)
Assistant Referees: A. Rolland (Ire) R. Poite (Fra)
TMO: P. Allan (Sco)
© PA Sport
The latest Week in Pictures takes in all the action from the weekend when rugby united behind Samoa
The Wallabies showed flair in Dublin, but they still have a way to go if they are to do more than make up the numbers at the World Cup, writes Greg Growden
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton
Wales' lessons to learn in defeat by New Zealand are almost exactly the same as those from previous near-misses, writes Huw Richards