England will be without two British & Irish Lions veterans when they host the Springboks at Twickenham on Saturday in a rematch of the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.
England are already without the services of loosehead Ellis Genge, who tested positive for Covid-19 last week and is still undergoing self-isolation protocols. Gloucester’s Harry Elrington and Jack Singleton have been called up to the squad in place of the injured players.
On Monday, it was confirmed that captain Owen Farrell and hooker Jamie George have been added to the injury list.
The impact of these losses will likely result in the inexperienced Marcus Smith being handed the reins at flyhalf, while Manu Tuilagi looks set to return to the centres after his outing on the wing against Australia.
England continue to experiment with combinations this autumn as they have looked to develop their attack. The loss of two senior players will hamper the men in white’s continuity and may even the odds against a Springbok side struggling with their own injury absences.
England will, however, be pleased to welcome back Joe Marler, who has finished his mandatory isolation period and will rejoin the side on Friday. Whether he will be named in the Test side remains to be seen, however.
South Africa, for their part, have not reported any serious injuries or positive Covid tests and look set to name a largely unchanged side for the weekend. There has, however, been some speculation that the halfback pairing of Cobus Reinach and Handre Pollard may be favoured over last week’s combo of Herschel and Elton Jantjies.