• ‘Beware the Bok backlash’

    What the English newspapers are saying ahead of the Test against South Africa on Saturday.

    England have yet another concern ahead of the game against the Springboks. Centre Kyle Eastmond is suffering from a bad bout of diarrhoea, and there could be a forced change to the starting backline. Owen Farrell is expect to move to No 12, with George Ford coming into the side at No 10. The Times’ chief rugby correspondent Owen Slot says: ‘Ford will be given the unenviable baptism of a first start against the notoriously physical Springboks’.

    The headline of the main rugby piece in today’s Daily Telegraph reads: ‘England clear air after brutal team meeting’. Just like the South Africans, the English are hurting after their recent loss. Mick Cleary writes that following that meeting, England are now in the right frame of mind to face the Boks.

    ‘Lancaster out to reboot England kicking game against Springboks’ says Robert Kitson in the Guardian. Kitson notes the Boks’ record of 10 wins and a draw in the last 11 meetings between the two sides. It places England in a difficult position, he believes, following the recent loss to New Zealand.

    ’They are absolutely the last opponents on earth England would wish to be facing this week when they urgently need a victory… this is not the time to be shilly-shallying or hoping for the best’.

    ‘Farrell and Ford centre of attention’ barks the headline in the Daily Mail. Nik Simon has also focused on the likely 10-12 pairing to front the Boks at Twickenham. While Ford is not the biggest man at 84 kg and 1.75m, he will give England another kicking option. Simon is wary of a Bok backlash following the recent defeat to Ireland in Dublin.

    ‘While England will still be seething from their defeat to the All Blacks, South Africa will arguably be even more aggrieved after their shock 29-15 loss to Ireland. England will face some hugely powerful forwards in the likes of Duane Vermeulen, Victor Matfield, and Bismarck du Plessis.’

    By Jon Cardinelli

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    Jon Cardinelli