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Six changes for England as Lancaster shakes things up

Stuart Lancaster has announced his England side to face South Africa this weekend and has made sweeping changes, altering over a third of his team from the one that lost to Australia last week.

In all there are six changes with four in the forwards and two in the backs. In the pack it is much as expected, with Alex Corbisiero replacing the injured Joe Marler and Joe Launchbury making his first start in place of Tom Palmer who drops out of the squad altogether.

The back row sees two of its three occupants change, with Ben Morgan replacing Thomas Waldrom at 8 and Tom Wood taking Tom Johnson’s place at blindside. Captain Chris Robshaw retains the seven shirt while James Haskell sits on the bench.

In the backs much of the debate centred around who would play on the left wing, with many (including us) predicting that Manu Tuilagi would move to the wing, accommodating Jonathan Joseph in the centres.

Lancaster though has named Harlequins full back Mike Brown on the wing after he has impressed in the position as a substitute against Fiji and Australia, with his ability under the high ball also a likely factor for his selection given the quality of the South African kicking game. That means that Joseph has to make to with a place on the bench after his return from injury.

Much of the selection debate though will centre on the choice of Ben Youngs ahead of Danny Care at scrum half. Youngs’ form has in many observers’ eyes been poor of late, and his decision to take a quick tap penalty in front of the posts against Australia has been vilified, though care of course did the same but with the bonus of Tuilagi scoring.

Youngs is a quality player at his best though and his relationship with Toby Flood and impetus of his kicking game may be behind him getting the nod. In any case it will be a proud day for the Youngs family as brothers Ben and Tom starting together for England for the first time.

England XV versus South Africa:

15. Alex Goode, 14, Chris Ashton, 13. Manu Tuilagi, 12. Brad Barritt, 11. Mike Brown, 10. Toby Flood, 9. Ben Youngs; 1. Alex Corbisiero, 2. Tom Youngs, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Joe Launchbury, 5. Geoff Parling, 6. Tom Wood, 7. Chris Robshaw (captain), 8. Ben Morgan.

Replacements: 16. David Paice, 17. David Wilson, 18. Mako Vunipola, 19. Mouritz Botha, 20. James Haskell, 21. Danny Care, 22. Owen Farrell, 23. Jonathan Joseph.

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