England ready to bounce back against Springboks with Watson in
Following an excellent effort by England in their first Autumn International against the All Blacks, they are now odds-on with Coral at 8/11 to beat South Africa.
Captain Chris Robshaw even admitted how much it would mean for Stuart Lancaster’s men: “A win will be huge for this group. We’ve never beaten them, so I think it will be a huge stepping-stone for us.”
When asked if the narrow 24-21 defeat to New Zealand has a significant indicator on the game against the Springboks, Robshaw was responded: “I think it does, you never like to lose, and with both sides losing last weekend, I’m sure the intensity and physicality will be right up there this weekend.
“We’ll learn our lessons and hopefully be more efficient and effective on the weekend.”
Anthony Watson is in line to make his first international start, replacing injured Bath teammate Semesa Rokoduguni, who made his debut against the All Blacks on the wing, and is 2/1 to cross the whitewash anytime.
The 20-year-old is expected to be the only change to Lancaster’s starting lineup, and the England coach conveyed his confidence that Watson can perform.
“Anthony has been pushing hard for a while and has been in impressive form for Bath and in training with us,” Lancaster said.
“It was great that he got on against New Zealand and we feel he is ready to start. He has all the physical and technical ability without a doubt. He is strong, tall, good in the air, he has got pace and good footwork, but he has only got one cap,”continued Lancaster.
“With all players you have to layer on that experience and hopefully in seven or eight years time we will be sat here and he will have won 50 or 60 caps.”
Jonny May will be hoping he can add to the try he scored last time out, and is 9/1 to break the deadlock and breach the opposition in-goal area, while Owen Farrell, who was widely criticised and tipped to be replaced by youngster George Ford for this match, is 7/1 to cross in the anytime market.
It’s a tall order for England, who haven’t beaten South Africa in five meetings, though they demonstrated against New Zealand that they have what it takes to spring a surprise on the southern hemisphere side.
Meanwhile, for South Africa, who are 11/10 for the win, Bryan Habana is their best chance to score at odds of 9/1 to cross touch down first.
England team to face South Africa:
Mike Brown (Harlequins); Anthony Watson (Bath), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Kyle Eastmond (Bath), Jonny May (Gloucester); Owen Farrell (Saracens), Danny Care (Harlequins); Joe Marler (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), David Wilson (Bath), Dave Attwood (Bath), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Tom Wood (Northampton), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Rob Webber (Bath), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle), George Kruis (Saracens), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Ben Youngs (Leicester), George Ford (Bath), Marland Yarde (Harlequins)