England name team to face South Africa at Twickenham

November 11, 2016

England's squad to face South Africa at Twickenham this Saturday (November 12th) has been named, with recalls for Tom Wood and Jonny May on the left wing and a first start for Elliot Daly.

Wood comes into the side in place of James Haskell and May returns to the fold after a long injury lay-off. Head coach Eddie Jones said that with Jack Nowell and Anthony Watson out injured, May's "extreme pace" has earned him a recall.

Daly will make his first start at the expense of Jonathan Joseph, having already earned five previous caps as a replacement.  

The bench features three uncapped players; Kyle Sinckler of Harlequins, Nathan Hughes of Wasps and Ben Te’o  of Worcester Warriors. They will be sat alongside Dave Attwood and Joe Marler, who are both back in the side.

With 596 caps, the side is still an experienced one, even if it has been hit by injuries, most notably to Maro Itoje. Jones will be hoping to make it ten wins out of ten, securing England's first win over the Springboks since 2006 in the process.

Fans booking corporate hospitality for the final game of the series against Australia on December 3rd may be particularly excited by the prospect that lies ahead should England defeat the Springboks.

Jones's men should be very confident of following up any win over South Africa with further victories over Fiji and Argentina before the Wallabies come to Twickenham. With England having won their last game under former coach Stuart Lancaster, who stepped down a year ago tomorrow, the run stands at ten successive wins. Three more victories will start to bring into sight the prospect of equalling or surpassing New Zealand's record run of 18 wins, which was ended last weekend when they were beaten by Ireland for the first time.

First, however, they must beat a South Africa side in transition following last year's World Cup, a team criticised by 1995 World Cup winner Joel Stransky in a recent BBC interview, but no doubt likely to be inspired by the prospect of a packed and noisy Twickenham.

The South African side will be much-changed from the team that drew 31-all against the Barbarians at Wembley last week, with just five of that team starting the England game. Prop Beast Mtawarira, flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit, scrumhalf Rudy Paige, fly-half Pat Lambie and outside centre Francois Venter retain their places. Ventner will be making his Test debut.

Damian de Allende will partner Ventner, while South Africa, like England, have a series of injured flankers out of action, including Roelof Smit. Coach Allister Coetzee has responded by reorganising his forwards, including the switch of du Toit from second row to the wide position. His old position will be filled by the returning Lood de Jager.

Adriaan Strauss returns at hooker and he will captain the side, while Lourens Adriaanse drops to the bench.

Admitting that the side is still in the process of taking shape, Coetzer said the side's European tour will be used to test out a range of combinations as the side is rotated to give everyone as chance to show how they can perform at the top level.

Keith Prowse

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