England face tall order to storm the Boks' stronghold

Tourists must master their kicking game if they are to level the series at Ellis Park today

Johannesburg

"You have to be turned on by the fear of playing at places like Ellis Park," said Graham Rowntree, the cauliflower-eared England forwards coach, as he read the runes ahead of this afternoon's meeting with the Springboks – a must-win match for the tourists if they are to keep this three-Test series alive. Rowntree's charges will either be turned on, or turned to stone. The Boks have lost only five matches here in 40 years.

According to the tacticians among the England back-room staff, last weekend's defeat in Durban was primarily down to a failure of "exit strategy": in layman's language, the inability of the movers and shakers, principally Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell at half-back, to find ways out of their own 22 when the Boks were running molten hot after half-time. Farrell, one of the head coach Stuart Lancaster's ever-presents over the last six months, has paid for that failure with his place in the starting line-up. Youngs remains, but could well come under heavy pressure from a rejuvenated Danny Care before this trip is over.

Whether Lancaster has improved England's chances on the exit front by moving Manu Tuilagi, a non-kicker and occasional passer at best, to the ever-troublesome inside centre position is a moot point. If the Springboks have penetrating tactical kickers all over their back division – Morne Steyn, Frans Steyn and Pat Lambie, with Ruan Pienaar on the bench – the visitors are nowhere near as blessed. And if England fail to match the Boks when it comes to putting boot to ball, there will be no escape from anywhere.

"We played into the Boks' hands last week," acknowledged Chris Robshaw, the captain, at his eve-of-match address. "We lost some composure after the interval and that allowed the South Africans to build momentum. When that happens, especially against a side as powerful as them, you risk being run into the ground. It's important that we keep some composure this time."

England will not be able to turn to the rugged, hard-tackling Northampton back-rower Phil Dowson if they find themselves in extremis during the latter stages of the game. Dowson, a first-choice Six Nations pick for Lancaster until the more dynamic Ben Morgan changed the coach's thinking midway through the tournament, was forced to withdraw from the bench yesterday after suffering hamstring problems in training. The uncapped Leicester No 8 Thomas Waldrom, a significantly greater force in attack than he is in defence, fills the vacancy.

Rowntree said yesterday that Waldrom "deserved his chance after the way he has trained" but saved his finer words for the new outside centre Jonathan Joseph, who will make his first international start after catching the eye with a debut appearance off the bench in Durban.

"I'm really excited by his selection," the coach commented. "It's a sign of where we are now. We're not hesitant when it comes to selection. We're happy putting fresh people in if we think they're good enough."

Joseph is certain to have his hands full: his opposite number, the Springbok captain Jean de Villiers, may be more comfortable at inside centre than in his current No 13 role, but he is a high-quality midfielder whatever the number on his back. His Super 15 performance on the road for the Cape Town-based Stormers against the Bulls of Pretoria a couple of weeks ago was nothing short of exceptional and he followed up with a try-scoring performance in the first Test. By close of play this evening, Joseph will know all about the realities of rugby at this exalted level.

So too will Lancaster, who is as new to coaching international union in this part of the world as most of his side are to playing it. The Boks may be blooding one or two interesting youngsters of their own in this series – the lock Eben Etzebeth, the flanker Marcell Coetzee – but they bring well over twice the number of caps, and therefore twice the experience, to today's party. And they are in their favourite citadel, too. If England find a way of winning this game and head for the final match in Port Elizabeth all square, it will be quite something.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone