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Mon Apr 21 02:41:40 SAST 2014

English to fight fire with fire

CRAIG RAY | 22 June, 2012 06:220 Comments
England Rugby Union Training Session
Alex Goode, the England fullback holds onto the ball during the England training session held at the Nelson Mandela University on June 21, 2012 in Port Elizabeth
Image by: David Rogers / Getty Images

ENGLAND intend to fight fire with fire when they meet the Springboks in the final test of the series at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium tomorrow.

Coach Stuart Lancaster has rejigged his loose trio to try and ensure that the English have some go-forward ball, which has been a problem against the physical and abrasive Bok defence.

Highlanders flank James Haskell will pack down at flank, while former Hurricanes loose forward Thomas Waldrom will make his run-on debut after earning his first test cap last week.

The pair are both noted for their strong ball-carrying skills, abrasive defence, and, in the case of Haskell, a beautiful left-right combination. Haskell gained notoriety earlier this year when he felled Cheetahs flank Justin Downey with a combination that would have done Floyd Mayweather proud.

"James and Thomas give us physicality in terms of carrying the ball forward but also in terms of stopping Springbok ball carriers when they come around the corner," Lancaster said.

Lancaster has made six changes in all. Two were forced by injury, with scrumhalf Danny Care coming in for Ben Youngs and Haskell taking over from squad captain Chris Robshaw, who has a broken thumb.

Fullback Alex Goode will make his first test start and there are also first tour starts for prop Alex Corbisiero and lock Tom Palmer.

Lancaster dismissed suggestions that this was a "dead rubber" after England lost the opening two tests.

"I really don't like it when people use the term 'dead rubber' because this is still a test match," the coach said.

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