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South Africa v England – second Test preview

15 June 2012

  • Find out how to catch the action as the sides head to Johannesburg with South Africa 1-0 up
  • This team is not even five per cent toward where I want them to be – Meyer
Willem Alberts on the charge

Photo: Getty Images

After weeks of excited expectation, last weekend’s spectacle in Durban did not disappoint. As promised by both camps, England and South Africa played out an enthralling encounter punctuated by huge hits and fierce physicality.

Thanks to tries from Morne Steyn and captain Jean de Villiers in a relentless period of pressure just after half time, the Springboks carved out a 22-17 victory. Now, they move to Johannesburg, where they have lost just three times since 1993 – to France, New Zealand and the British Lions. A huge chance to kill off the series beckons.  

Down, but by no means out, England have re-jigged their backline and, reinvigorated by a comprehensive win for the midweek side on Wednesday, will be determined to force a decider. Fireworks are certainly in store.

When? Saturday, June 16
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
5pm local time, 4pm BST

How to keep up with the action

  • Live on Sky Sports 2 from 3.30pm
  • Regular updates on BBC Five Live 
  • Live text commentary on the free RFU iPhone app (search iTunes for Official RFU)
  • Live score updates from @Official_RFU on Twitter
  • Match report and post-match interviews on


South Africa

15. Pat Lambie, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Frans Steyn, 12. Jean de Villiers (c), 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Francois Hougaard; 1. Tendai Mtawarira, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 5. Juandré Kruger, 6. Willem Alberts, 7. Marcell Coetzee, 8. Pierre Spies

Replacements: 16. Adriann Strauss, 17. Werner Kruger, 18. Flip Van Der Merwe, 19. Keegan Daniel, 20. Ruan Pienaar, 21. Wynand Olivier, 22. Bjorn Basson


15. Ben Foden, 14. Chris Ashton, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Manu Tuilagi, 11. David Strettle, 10. Toby Flood, 9. Ben Youngs; 1. Joe Marler, 2. Dylan Hartley, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Mouritz Botha, 5. Geoff Parling, 6. Tom Johnson, 7. Chris Robshaw (c), 8. Ben Morgan

Replacements: 16. Lee Mears, 17. Alex Corbisiero, 18. Tom Palmer, 19. Thomas Waldrom, 20. Lee Dickson, 21. Owen Farrell, 22. Alex Goode

Key Clashes

Willem Alberts v Chris Robshaw: Man of the Match Alberts was the cornerstone on which the Springboks built there relentlessly straightforward running game last weekend. The South African blindside flanker was a wrecking-ball at Kings Park, using every ounce of his 118 kg frame to very destructive effect with numerous bone-shattering carries.

Expect more of the same, although Alberts would do well to keep a closer eye on the breakdown, as England captain Chris Robshaw made a great deal of headway on the floor, hitting 31 rucks and pilfering four ruck steals. With the likes of Toby Flood and Jonathan Joseph lurking, turnover ball will be dangerous.

The midfield: A classic tale of experience against youth here, as World Cup-winning British Lion tamers de Villiers and Francois Steyn face off against Manu Tuilagi and Joseph, two tyros re-acquainting a partnership last seen in action for England Under 18s.

Alex Goode looks to move the ball in training

Photo: Getty Images

21 year-old Joseph showed enough sparkle in a three-minute cameo to be thrust into the spotlight from the outset, and will be ably supported by fellow youngster Tuilagi, who enjoyed a typically robust outing a week ago. With 121 caps between them though, the Springbok centres are unlikely to lose too much sleep.


Thanks to Phil Dowson’s troublesome hamstring, Thomas Waldrom joins the replacements and is presented with a chance to make a Test bow. Buoyed by a typically barnstorming brace for the midweek side against the Southern Barbarians on Wednesday, the Leicester Tigers man should be confident of adding another dimension to the tourists’ attack when required.

The only other potential debutant is Alex Goode, whose consistent excellence at full back for Saracens and the Saxons has long compelled international involvement. Rock-solid under the high-ball and reliable with the boot, as well as a fine counter-attacker, he will also be called upon in the second period.

Quotes from the camps

Heyneke Meyer (South Africa head coach): "This team is not even five per cent toward where I want them to be. We have set high standards for ourselves and while training has gone better and the players are more relaxed, the thing that matters is what happens on the field this Saturday.”

Stuart Lancaster (England head coach): “We need to be defensively strong enough to deal with their big ball-carriers coming around the corner and off the back of the lineout. In the last five minutes of the (first) Test, when we had more ball, we did cause them some trouble and we'll be trying to penetrate in wider channels."