Johnson, Marler debut for England
7 Jun 2012
Flank Tom Johnson and prop Joe Marler will play their first Test when England face South Africa in Durban on Saturday.
There could also be a debut for utility back Jonathan Joseph, who is named among the substitutes. In changes to the run-on side from their last Six Nations Test against Ireland, Marler replaces Alex Corbisiero at loosehead and Johnson comes in for Tom Croft at blindside.
In the back division, scrumhalf Ben Youngs ousts Lee Dickson, who drops to the bench, while in the back three Mike Brown’s inclusion at fullback sees Ben Foden move to the left wing, with David Strettle out of the 22 altogether. Brown’s inclusion is a clear indication that England expect to be bombarded with tactical kicks, the Harlequins man’s aerial ability and counter-attacking ability seen as key.
Meanwhile Owen Farrell starts at flyhalf ahead of Toby Flood, the latter playing off the wood. Home town boy Brad Barritt starts at inside centre and Manu Tuilagi has had no recurrence of the injury that sidelined him until Monday, and starts at No 13.
Speaking about the debutants England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: ‘Tom and Joe have had great seasons at their clubs and have worked really hard to get this chance, both are in great form and have really impressed in training.’
He added: ‘Equally, Mike Brown has been outstanding for Harlequins. By moving Ben Foden to the wing we retain his strike power and aerial skills and can utilise not only Mike’s attacking and defensive assets we can also call on his left footed kicking game.’
England - 15 Mike Brown, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Ben Foden, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler.
Subs: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Paul Doran Jones, 18 Tom Palmer, 19 Phil Dowson, 20 Lee Dickson, 21 Toby Flood, 22 Jonathan Joseph