Saracen a Goode pick for England
England need some ideas from somewhere: if they are found wanting in the brain department at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium tomorrow, as they were during the third quarter of the opening Test in Durban and the first half-hour of last weekend's match in Johannesburg, they will end the series with the Springboks with plenty of nothing. To that end, the head coach, Stuart Lancaster, has turned to the Saracens full-back Alex Goode.
Goode has been responsible for some of the most intelligent rugby in England since Saracens announced themselves as title contenders in 2009. Lancaster has been keeping a steady eye on the 24-year-old playmaker from Cambridge for some months.
"South Africa: that's where he'll get his chance," Lancaster said during this year's Six Nations. He is, however, a week late. Goode should have started in Johannesburg, not been restricted to two minutes off the bench.
"I felt that if I kept knocking out the performances, my opportunity would come," Goode said, after being named in a side showing seven changes, one positional, from that which lost 36-27 at Ellis Park. "If I can defuse the Springbok kicking game by playing some cat and mouse with them, all well and good. But I also want some attacking involvement – to influence the shape of the game."
Lancaster will effectively ask Goode to play as a second fly-half. "Alex understands the game so well," the coach said, "and we're looking to him to bring that understanding to the party."
The other changes were predictable: Danny Care's pace nudged him ahead of Lee Dickson and into the No 9 shirt vacated by the stricken Ben Youngs; Alex Corbisiero's performance off the bench at Ellis Park was enough to end Joe Marler's brief run at loosehead; Tom Palmer was short-priced to replace Mouritz Botha at lock; James Haskell and Thomas Waldrom were obvious back-row contenders once Chris Robshaw was injured and Ben Morgan was dropped.
Simon Calder looks at communities fighting back against the poachers
Arsenal 1 Everton 1: Substitute equalises with six minutes to go
booksGeese, gorillas, grandads... and growing up
Ashes 2013/14: England’s Ashes shambles is uglier than ’06 whitewash
Sam Wallace: David Moyes is paying the price of United’s virtual abstinence from top-level transfers since 2006. Can he refire their ambition?
Arsenal 1 Everton 1 match report: Gerard Deulofeu provides late sucker punch after Mesut Ozil's opener
Gerard Deulofeu - Why Barcelona chose Everton to educate their latest prodigy
Ashes 2013-14 match report: Another woeful display sees England lose to Australia by 218 runs to go down 2-0
- 1 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 2 Turning up the voice of America
- 3 The man who made Femen: New film outs Victor Svyatski as the mastermind behind the protest group and its breast-baring stunts
- 4 Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis
- 5 Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant