Rugby: Brad Shields named for first England start against South Africa

  • 15/06/2018
The Hurricanes captain will start on the blindside flank against South Africa.
The Hurricanes captain will start on the blindside flank against South Africa. Photo credit: Reuters

Brad Shields will start England's second test against South Africa in Bloemfontein, with Chris Robshaw dropped to the bench for the first time in his international career.          

Shields, a New Zealander who qualifies through his parents, has been picked at blindside flanker to make his full debut just two weeks after joining with Eddie Jones' squad.

It is a bold selection call by coach Jones, who had viewed Robshaw as a key player, until his decision to drop him from the match-day squad for Saturday's clash (local time).   

"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 said.          

"It is tough on Chris Robshaw, as he has been an outstanding player for us, but I know he will bounce back."        

In the only other starting XV change, Joe Launchbury is restored to the second row, having completed his recovery from the calf injury that had forced him to miss the first test.       

Launchbury partners Maro Itoje, with Nick Isiekwe - a tactical substitution three minutes before halftime in the 42-39 Ellis Park defeat - also overlooked for the bench.

Mark Wilson takes the bench spot that Shields filled in Johannesburg. The final change to the 23, toppled by the Springboks in the first test, has Danny Cipriani coming in for Piers Francis.   

Cipriani looked on last weekend, despite a superb season at Wasps, but Jones intends using him at Free State Stadium. 

"Danny will come onto the bench, as we are looking for something a little bit different to finish the game, which he can bring," Jones said.          

"He's been training well and doing everything that has been asked of him.          

"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 several other senior players, has really moulded the squad together.

"They are working hard to improve their game to make sure we win."        

England: 1-Mako Vunipola, 2-Jamie George, 3-Kyle Sinckler, 4-Joe Launchbury, 5-Maro Itoje, 6-Brad Shields, 7-Tom Curry, 8-Ben Youngs, 9-Ben Youngs, 10-George Ford, 11-Mike Brown, 12-Owen Farrell (c), 13-Henry Slade, 14-Jonny May, 15-Elliot Daly

Replacements: 16-Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17-Joe Marler, 18-Harry Williams, 19-Mark Wilson, 20-Nathan Hughes, 21-Ben Spencer, 22-Danny Cipriani, 23-Denny Solomona