CAPTAIN Chris Robshaw knows England must make history to haul themselves back into their Test series in South Africa.
England, 1-0 down with two matches to play, face the daunting task of having to beat the Springboks at their most famous and formidable venue in Johannesburg. South Africa have lost just once at the ground now known as Coca-Cola Park – formerly Ellis Park– in the last 10 years.
England have not played there since 1984 but can take encouragement from the fact that the Springboks’ one recent loss at the stadium was against the British and Irish Lions in 2009.
Robshaw experienced the ground for the first time as he led the ‘captain’s run’ final training session before the match earlier today.
Robshaw said: “We went down there for our team run and it was incredible. It is so impressive. We want to come here and put our mark on history.”
England head coach Stuart Lancaster has meanwhile made some bold changes to his team.
Three-quarter Manu Tuilagi has been moved to inside centre with Jonathan Joseph brought in for his first start outside him while Toby Flood has been restored at fly-half in place of Owen Farrell.
Robshaw hopes the changes will give the team more of a creative spark after spending long periods defending in Durban.
The 26-year-old said: “We just need to mix it up a bit more. We are focusing on what we are good at.”
England have been forced into making one change to the original 22-man squad with forward Phil Dowson forced out with a hamstring injury.
His place on the bench will be taken by Leicester’s uncapped back rower Thomas Waldrom who impressed when scoring two tries in midweek against the Southern Barbarians.
Robshaw said: “He is one of those players who has the ability to hit the line and he can really make an impact on Saturday.”
Another factor against England is the climate with the players unused to playing at altitude.
“It’s pretty tough but we are ready” he explained.
Meanwhile, forwards coach Graham Rowntree hopes England can take inspiration from the Lions win in 2009.
“Hopefully it can be as good an occasion as that tomorrow” he said.
South Africa: P Lambie; J P Pietersen, J de Villiers (capt), F Steyn, B Habana; M Steyn, F Hougaard; T Mtawarira, B du Plessis, J du Plessis, E Etzebeth, J Kruger, M Coetzee, W Alberts, P Spies. Subs: A Strauss, W Kruger, F van der Merwe, K Daniel, R Pienaar, W Olivier, B Basson..
England: B Foden (Northampton); C Ashton (Northampton, J Joseph (London Irish), M Tuilagi (Leicester), D Strettle (Saracens); T Flood (Leicester), B Youngs (Leicester); J Marler (Harleuins), D Hartley (Northampton), D Cole (Leicester), M Botha (Saracens), G Parling (Leicester), T Johnson (Exeter), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), B Morgan (Scarlets). Subs: L Mears (Bath), A Corbisiero (London Irish), T Palmer (Stade Francais), P Dowson (Northampton), L Dickson (Northampton), O Farrell (Saracens), A Goode (Saracens).
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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