By Ali Stokes
Eddie Jones must inspire his men to a Test victory this weekend in Bloemfontein if England are to keep hopes alive of winning their South African series and preventing a dead rubber in Cape Town in the final game.
Indiscipline, fitness and a high error rate cost England dearly last weekend, something Jones must address in his team selection this weekend.
For the most part, Eddie got his selections right last weekend, all things considered. But here are the three crucial changes the Australian should strongly consider.
* denotes changes
Ali Stokes's England XV
16. Luke Cowan-Dickie 17. Joe Marler 18. Harry Williams 19. Nick Isiekwe 20. Nathan Hughes 21. Ben Spencer 22. Danny Cipriani* 23. Mike Brown
If England are to match South Africa's potency in attack they must introduce additional strike runners in the backline and carriers in their pack.
While Chris Robshaw has been the most underrated contributor to England's cause under Eddie Jones' regime, the former national captain is not in the vein of form we have come to know in the white jersey. After going some way to shore up England's work around the park, despite the side’s abysmal performance as a whole for 50 minutes, Brad Shields should be promoted into the starting lineup.
An added carrying and lineout option, Shields can help take England's game up a notch while allowing Robshaw to readjust and return to his usual form. The loss of Robshaw's leadership will be cushioned by the return to fitness of Joe Launchbury and the fact that Shields has been the captain of Super Rugby side, the Hurricanes.
In the backline, Henry Slade and Mike Brown are sacrificed for Alex Lozowski and Jason Woodward. While neither Slade or Brown had poor games that warrant dropping, the balance of the backline Jones has selected is off. Too often England rely on Jonny May pulling out Usain Bolt levels of performance, while Daly is yet to fully adjust to his new role at 15.
Lozowski has proven for Saracens this season that his surprising turn of pace for a fly-half/centre can present a deadly asset, often breaking through oppositions’ defences without so much as a defending player's fingernail grazing his jersey.
Equally, Jason Woodward must replace Denny Solomona in the 23 and into the starting lineup, bumping Brown down to Solomona’s bench spot. Jones wants a wing that is strong under the high ball and physically capable; both of which are areas Woodward can bring, playing at fullback for Gloucester since joining this season.
Danny Cipriani must also enjoy a return to an England team, offering genuine game changing ability that may have been enough to swing the final result of the first Test last weekend.
Three changes that offer plenty of the same attributes as their predecessors while adding that extra edge that England were lacking last Saturday.
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