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Marler, Johnson make England debuts against Boks

Date
New cap ... Joe Marler.

New cap ... Joe Marler. Photo: Getty Images

DURBAN: Prop Joe Marler and flanker Tom Johnson will make their England debuts at Kings Park here Saturday in the first of three Tests against South Africa.

Marler replaces Alex Corbisiero at loose-head and Johnson comes in for injured Tom Croft as coach Stuart Lancaster made four personnel changes to the team that walloped Ireland 30-9 three months ago in the Six Nations.

Ben Youngs takes over from Lee Dickson at scrum-half, as he did at Twickenham, and Ben Foden moves from full-back to left wing in place of David Strettle.

Mike Brown, who came on for Foden in the Irish victory that sealed second place behind Wales in the championship, is now the first choice No 15 for the clash of top-four nations with the third-ranked Springboks just above England.

The Red Roses starting line-up includes two South Africa-born players -- inside centre Brad Barritt and lock Mouritz Botha -- while assistant coach Mike Catt is also back in the land of his birth.

Flank Chris Robshaw continues as captain as England strive to continue their redemption after a troubled 2011 Rugby World Cup on and off the field that culminated in a 19-12 quarter-finals loss to eventual runners-up France.

Lancaster was formally appointed coach after Six Nations victories over Scotland, Italy, France and Ireland, and he said Marler and Johnson deserved their opportunities.

"Joe Marler and Tom Johnson had great seasons at their clubs and have worked really hard to get this chance. Both are in great form and have really impressed in training.

"Mike Brown has been outstanding for Harlequins and by moving Ben Foden to the wing we retain his strike power and aerial skills," explained the 42-year-old coach.

"It is competitive in lots of positions, but particularly at scrum-half. We are really pleased with the form of Ben Youngs and he knows our systems well. I am sure Lee will make an impact if he gets a chance from the bench."

"We have made no secret of how tough this series will be, but it is an opportunity we do not fear and with the 22 we have selected, including an experienced bench, I am confident that we can perform."

The second Test will be staged 1800 metres above sea level at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on June 16 and the third a week later at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

England and South Africa drew 3-3 in their first meeting 106 years ago at Crystal Palace in London and the Springboks have won 19 and the Roses 12 of the subsequent Tests.

England (15-1): Mike Brown; Chris Ashton, Manu Tuilagi, Brad Barritt, Ben Foden; Owen Farrell, Ben Youngs; Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw (capt), Tom Johnson; Geoff Parling, Mouritz Botha; Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler. Replacements: Lee Mears, Paul Doran Jones, Tom Palmer, Phil Dowson, Lee Dickson, Toby Flood, Jonathan Joseph

AFP

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
 
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