South Africa vs England: Brad Shields to make first start as Eddie Jones drops Chris Robshaw

Nick Isiekwe joins Robshaw in paying the price for the 42-39 first Test defeat while Danny Cipriani is named on the bench for what could be his first cap in three years

Jack de Menezes
Thursday 14 June 2018 12:51 BST

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Brad Shields will make his first start for England in Saturday's second Test against South Africa Rugby after Eddie Jones dropped Chris Robshaw from his entire matchday squad, following the 42-39 defeat last weekend.

The only other change to the starting line-up sees Joe Launchbury return for the encounter in Bloemfontein, having recovered from a calf injury, while Danny Cipriani is named among the replacements.

“Based on South Africa’s likely selection of an extra lineout jumper we have decided to start with Brad Shields, which improves our lineout,” Jones explained of his decision to axe former captain Robshaw. “It is tough on Chris Robshaw as he has been an outstanding player for us but I know he will bounce back.

“Danny Cipriani will come onto the bench, as we are looking for something a little bit different to finish the game, which he can bring. He’s been training well and doing everything that has been asked of him."

Cipriani replaces Piers Francis, who drops out of the 23 along with the jettisoned Nick Isiekwe. The Saracens forward was sacrificed by head coach Jones just 36 minutes into the first half last week, and he is left out completely this time around as Newcastle Falcons forward Mark Wilson is named on the bench with Shields once again covering the second-row.

Despite letting a 21-point lead vanish during last Saturday’s encounter at Ellis Park, Jones believes that training this week will help his side perfect their preparations for the game – having dismissed suggestions that the players were undercooked to play at altitude in Johannesburg.

“We have come here to win the series against South Africa and the squad is ready to go out and beat them this weekend,” he added. “We have had a very good preparation this week and the intensity and executions in those sessions are going to put us in a good position for Saturday.

“The way the team have come together has been superb. Owen Farrell, with a number of the senior players, has really moulded the squad together. They are working hard to improve their game to make sure we win.

“When you have a win like South Africa did on Saturday you come into the game with a bit of confidence so we have to make sure we dent the Springboks' confidence early. Bloemfontein is a very fast ground at altitude. It has an average of 60 points per Test match so we are anticipating an ebb-and-flow type game like we had in Johannesburg.”

South Africa meanwhile have made two changes in the hope of clinching a series victory with a game to spare. As Predicted by Jones, Pieter-Steph du Toit starts at flanker in place of Jean-Luc du Preez and Frans Malherbe returns at tighthead prop, with Wilco Louw dropping out of the squad.


South Africa: Willie le Roux; S’busiso Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Aphiwe Dyantyi; Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Tendai Mtawawira, Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malberbe; RG Snyman, Franco Mostert; Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Akker van der Merwe, Steven Kitschoff, Thomas du Toit, Jean-Luc du Preez, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Ivan van Zyl, Jesse Kriel, Warrick Gelant.

England squad to face South Africa

Elliot Daly; Jonny May, Henry Slade, Owen Farrell, Mike Brown; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler; Maro Itoje, Joe Launchbury; Brad Shields, Tom Curry, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Joe Marler, Harry Williams, Mark Wilson, Nathan Hughes, Ben Spencer, Danny Cipriani, Denny Solomona.

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