Preview: Springboks vs England
A series win over England is on offer for South Africa when they host the Six Nations runners-up at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday afternoon.
The hosts go into the game having won the first Test a week ago in Durban and know that a win in Johannesburg will seal the series before the final game in Port Elizabeth.
Many expected a strong-looking Springbok side to have too much for England last weekend, and that proved to be the case as the home side pushed on from 6-6 at half time to claim victory.
Another tough battle of the packs is anticipated on Saturday with ‘efficiency’ set to be the buzz word once again in a first half expected to mirror the opening period of the first Test.
Only one change will be made to the Springbok run-on side that defeated their northern hemisphere rivals in the opener with Sharks back Patrick Lambie slotting into the fullback position for the injured Zane Kirchner, who was replaced at half time in last week’s game.
The only other fresh faces are seen among the replacements as Bjorn Basson takes Lambie’s place on the bench, while Werner Kruger joins the matchday squad in place of the injured Coenie Oosthuizen.
That means coach Heyneke Meyer unsurprisingly sticks with the same starting pack that dealt well with a physical England forward set-up with lock duo Eben Etzebeth and Juandre Kruger’s partnership a sign of the future of South African rugby.
Again, they’ll have the opportunity to test themselves against the same England pack that fronted up in Durban, with no changes in that area from last week’s first Test.
Instead, changes are made to the backline with injuries to Brad Barritt and Mike Brown forcing the hand of Stuart Lancaster.
Ben Foden reverts from wing to fullback after Brown (thumb) was ruled out for the rest of the tour, with David Strettle set to wear the number 11 jersey in the reshuffle.
Jonathan Joseph will make his run-on debut at outside centre to shape one of England’s youngest centre combinations of all-time when he plays alongside Manu Tuilagi (both 21 years of age).
The final change is at flyhalf where Toby Flood replaces Owen Farrell and reunites with Leicester teammate Ben Youngs.
Alex Goode takes Flood’s place on the bench which also includes Alex Corbisiero as back up prop
Key Battle: Morne Steyn vs. Toby Flood. With the more creative Toby Flood coming into the run-on side ahead of Owen Farrell, England will be hoping to find a little bit more spark for a backline that has been shuffled for this weekend.
His opposite number Morne Steyn hasn’t been as dominant as usual in 2012, but class is permanent in and he can be unstoppable on his day.
The battle of the boot will also be crucial in what’s expected to be another largely hard-fought Test.
Last Meeting: South Africa 22-17 England (Durban).
Prediction: The score line probably flattered England last week, but there was an encouraging steel and determination in this young group that suggests they’re hungry and up for the battle on this tour.
If they can hang in a bit longer this time and take their chances then you never know, but it’s more likely that the hosts will overpower them with that extra quality once more to seal the series. South Africa by 10 points.
Saturday 16 June: South Africa vs. England, Johannesburg (17:00)
South Africa: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Werner Kruger , 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Wynand Olivier, 22 Bjorn Basson.
England: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 11 David Strettle, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Tom Palmer, 19 Thomas Waldrom, 20 Lee Dickson, 21 Owen Farrell, 22 Alex Goode.