Martin Johnson names strong England side

England manager Martin Johnson has reverted to his strongest line-up for Saturday's Investec Test against South Africa.

After making four changes for last week's 26-13 win against Samoa, Johnson has named the same starting XV that laid the foundations for England's record victory over Australia.



Lewis Moody returns to captain the team from openside flanker and Mike Tindall reclaims his place at outside centre from Matt Banahan, who has been included on the bench.



The Leicester pair of flanker Tom Croft and tighthead prop Dan Cole also return to the starting team as England look to end an encouraging autumn series with victory over the world champions.



The only change to the 22-man squad from the 35-18 victory over the Wallabies is the inclusion of Banahan for Delon Armitage among the replacements.



Hendre Fourie has held off the challenge from James Haskell to provide the back row cover in what will be a special occasion for the South Africa-born flanker.



Johnson has kept changes to a minimum since the summer tour of Australia, when the likes of Cole, Courtney Lawes, Ben Foden, Chris Ashton and Ben Youngs announced their arrival on the Test scene.



England will have only used 24 players in their autumn Tests against the Tri Nations giants New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.



On the back of that consistency of selection - helped by some good fortune on the injury front - England have risen to fourth in the International Rugby Board's world rankings.



Conversely, the Springboks, who finished last in the Tri Nations, head into Saturday's game under increasing pressure following last week's 21-17 defeat to Scotland.

Johnson is relishing the different challenge presented by the world champions.

"They are coming off a loss but we are playing a very good team and we will have to play at a very high level," he told Sky Sports News.



"It is another week and another challenge and we're looking forward to a full-blooded Test match.



"This (South Africa) team has been around the block. There are a lot of caps, experience and pride in there.



"(Victor) Matfield, (Bakkies) Botha and (Juan) Smith are the premier group that has been around for a few years now.



"Last week we were pretty pleased with the way we handled the game but it will be a different challenge again on Saturday.



"Some of our guys have not played South Africa in a Test match before and we are preparing them for what it is like."



Johnson is pleased that England managed victories against Australia and Samoa that were achieved in two contrasting matches.



"You will not always get a Test like England against Australia. Last week was far more stop-start.



"They (Samoa) took the tempo out of the game and you have to handle that. We scored the points and put the game away."



On Armitage missing out on a chance to face the Springboks, Johnson said: "Delon is very much part of our squad going forwards into next year and the World Cup.



"The back three guys have played very well and it is a very competitive backline to get into which is a positive sign for us in terms of where we are as a team.



"He needs to go back to his club, continue his good form and take his chance when it comes."





England team to play South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday, November 27; kick-off 2.30pm:

B Foden (Northampton); C Ashton (Northampton), M Tindall (Gloucester), S Hape (Bath), M Cueto (Sale); T Flood (Leicester), B Youngs (Leicester); A Sheridan (Sale), D Hartley (Northampton), D Cole (Leicester), C Lawes (Northampton), T Palmer (Stade Francais), T Croft (Leicester), L Moody (Bath, capt), N Easter (Harlequins).



Replacements: S Thompson (Leeds), D Wilson (Bath), S Shaw (Wasps), H Fourie (Leeds), D Care (Harlequins), C Hodgson (Sale), M Banahan (Bath).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada