Anthony Watson To Start For England Against Springboks

Anthony Watson will start his first international for England in Saturday’s Test against South Africa at Twickenham.  Watson replaces Bath Rugby teammate Semesa Rokoduguni on the right wing in the only change to the starting line-up from the match against New Zealand, the 20 year-old handed a chance to build on his cameo appearance from the bench in last weekend’s 24-21 defeat.  A prolific graduate of the England age-group system who was part of the 2013 Junior World Championship-winning side, he can also draw confidence from this summer’s tour to New Zealand.

Underlining his burgeoning potential and finishing ability, he scorched over for a try in the 38-7 midweek win over the Crusaders.  Watson’s promotion means Harlequins flyer Marland Yarde, who has scored four tries in five international appearances thus far, comes onto the bench.  Elsewhere in the run-on XV, Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes (both Northampton Saints) successfully completed the graduated return to play protocol.  They are named to start and will take part in today’s training session, while scrum half Danny Care will become the squad’s second half-centurion after Hartley.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said, “Anthony has been pushing hard for a while and has been in impressive form for Bath and in training with us.  It was great that he got on against New Zealand and we feel he is ready to start.  Equally, it’s good to have Marland back in the match-day 23.  Congratulations to Danny Care who will be winning his 50th cap.  It’ll be a special moment for him and I am sure he will rise to the occasion.”  England are on a run of four consecutive defeats and have not overturned the Springboks in 11 matches stretching back to 2006.  Still, Lancaster highlighted the determination and diligence that has characterised this week’s preparation, “I know the players are looking forward to the challenge.  South Africa have quality and experience across the park and it will be a big test for us.”

England team to face South Africa

15. Mike Brown (Harlequins, 30 caps)
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 1 cap)
13. Brad Barritt (Saracens, 19 caps)
12. Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby, 5 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 8 caps)
10. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 26 caps)
9. Danny Care (Harlequins, 49 caps)

1. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 23 caps)
2. Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 58 caps)
3. David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 38 caps)
4. Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby, 13 caps)
5. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 33 caps)
6. Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 31 caps)
7. Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, 29 caps, captain) 
8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 11 caps)

Replacements

16. Rob Webber (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)
17. Matt Mullan (Wasps, 6 caps)
18. Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons, 3 caps)
19. George Kruis (Saracens, 1 cap)
20. Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 24 caps)
21. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 39 caps)
22. George Ford (Bath Rugby, 3 caps)
23. Marland Yarde (Harlequins, 5 caps)