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Alex Cuthbert of Wales is out for six weeks after tearing hamstring against England

Wales winger Cuthbert out for six weeks after tearing hamstring against England

Mike Dawes


18:24 GMT, 20 March 2013



19:25 GMT, 20 March 2013

Wales winger Alex Cuthbert has been ruled out for up to six weeks with a hamstring tear sustained in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations title-clinching victory over England.

Cuthbert, who scored two tries in the 30-3 rout at the Millennium Stadium, will miss at least four of the Cardiff Blues' remaining five RaboDirect PRO 12 matches.

If the injury takes six weeks to heal, he will also be sidelined for their final game against Ulster on
May 3.

Sidelined: Wales' Alex Cuthbert is to be out for six weeks

Sidelined: Wales' Alex Cuthbert is to be out for six weeks

'Alex suffered a grade two hamstring strain in the first 30 minutes of the match against England. He is expected to be out for between four to six weeks,' read a statement released by the Blues.

Cuthbert is expected to tour with the British & Irish Lions this summer and while the injury will not affect his chances of travelling to Australia, it will leave him short of match fitness ahead of the first game against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1.

'Grade two strain': It is Cuthbert's hamstring that is proving the problem

'Grade two strain': It is Cuthbert's hamstring that is proving the problem

Wales must learn lessons from autumn internationals

Harsh lessons from autumn agony for Wales as Australia complete clean sweep



22:30 GMT, 2 December 2012

For 79 minutes and 33 seconds it looked like Wales would finish a rotten autumn in some style, then Kurtley Beale changed everything with a final try to snatch a 14-12 victory for Australia.

The players stood apart on their own tryline, heads hanging and lungs burning, as Leigh Halfpenny lay sprawled on the floor receiving treatment after his courageous attempt to stop the attack.

It was a brutal, ugly metaphor for where Welsh rugby is right now.

Fortunately, Halfpenny’s neck injury was not serious and he was released from hospital on Sunday. But the team itself does need treatment because some harsh truths have been exposed this autumn.

Dejected: Wales slumped to four defeats in the autumn internationals

Dejected: Wales slumped to four defeats in the autumn internationals


The best game Wales played this year was their first: a blistering start to their Grand Slam Six Nations campaign against Ireland in Dublin. Back in February, they were still on a high from the World Cup and had yet to start choking on the suffocating pressure of the Cardiff bubble.

Against Australia, they recaptured the intensity and precision of that form but the pattern of the year still reads five straight victories, a jolly against the Barbarians and then seven straight defeats.

Scrum-half Mike Phillips described Welsh rugby as a soap opera and for a decade there has been an extraordinary pattern of peaks and troughs — 10 defeats in a row (2002-03), eight wins (2004-05), five defeats (2006-07), five wins (2008), five defeats (2010), then this bizarre year.


There is no point being the fitter side if you are not playing at a pace and intensity that is pushing your opponents beyond their physical limits. The backs lost on average four per cent of their body fat and put on 5kg of muscle during 30 training sessions in 10 days before the autumn, but they failed to exploit that superior fitness.

Late show: Kurtley Beale of Australia scores a last minute against Wales

Late show: Kurtley Beale of Australia scores a last minute against Wales

Until Saturday, in every meeting with a southern hemisphere side this year Wales had been ambushed by the early pace of the game. It is like setting a treadmill to sprint in the gym and then trying to jump on.

This time, despite Australia having 74 per cent possession in the opening quarter, Wales were very aggressive defensively and it put them straight in the game.


Wales have developed a wicked habit of clutching defeat from the jaws of victory. Three times this year they have lost to the Wallabies in the dying seconds — the total deficit is 13 points in their last four meetings — and it comes down to performing basic skills under pressure.

Warren Gatland talked about closing out the tightest Test matches. ‘It was obvious to us in the stands that they were going to use the ball,’ he said. ‘A couple of players weren’t in the front line defensively at the end. They’ve exposed us.’ Time and time again Wales contrive to lose from winning situations.


The players have made every effort to play down his absence but the stark results tell their own story. Even though Gatland has overseen two defeats at the end of the autumn since returning, the spike in performance says Wales are back to their best with him at the helm.

Main man: Wales improved with Warren Gatland back at the helm

Main man: Wales improved with Warren Gatland back at the helm

The problem now is that he is gone again until after the Lions tour. He brings an X factor as a coach, coming up with ideas like a 13-man lineout against the All Blacks.

He has never done a huge amount of hands-on coaching — he has assembled a fine group of coaches to do precisely that — but his presence as head honcho undeniably gives the players a psychological edge. It becomes a weakness when he walks away.


You cannot slip off one-on-one tackling against the southern hemisphere sides. Wales missed 22 against the All Blacks and 15 against Australia. Only Fiji, Scotland and Argentina had worse tackling statistics this autumn. It is uncharacteristic of a team that prides itself on defence.

Sorely missed: Dan Lydiate

Sorely missed: Dan Lydiate

Dan Lydiate, a maniac when it comes to tackling, was sorely missed and his absence affected the balance of the back row. In attack, Wales made three clean breaks per match, but their opponents made seven.

At times the match resembled a really impressive tennis rally without anybody actually hitting a winner. Wales have to find a killer instinct from somewhere. They have to make line breaks count.


While the regional game is on a financial precipice, even the national team have not been able to fill the Millennium Stadium all autumn. The visit of the All Blacks was a few thousand short, while 25,000 and 30,000 empty seats stagnated the atmosphere of the Argentina and Samoa matches.

Meanwhile, the players have saved the Welsh Rugby Union at least 500,000 in win bonuses over the past six months. As for absentees, the side run 80 to 90 per cent of their training drills in first-team combinations, but with so many players injured or flying off to France for club duty, preparations have been severely disrupted.


It tells you everything about Rhys Priestland’s year that he has slipped from the No 1 sexiest man in Wales to seventh. He lost his way and his swagger during the Six Nations and has been under relentless pressure since.

But two weeks ago he started seeing the team psychologist and that may just be the secret. Against Australia he showed glimmers of his old self. He has been picked out as the fly-half to take Wales to the 2015 World Cup and has a bespoke coaching regime to harness his talent including individual sessions with a running specialist.

In the playmaker role his form determines the team’s success: when he plays well, Wales play well.

Wales rocked by George North blow for New Zealand clash

Crisis-hit Wales rocked by North blow for New Zealand clash



23:35 GMT, 22 November 2012

Wales suffered a huge setback when winger George North was ruled out of Saturday's Test against New Zealand with a hip injury.

North, 20, suffered the injury in
training on Tuesday and his Scarlets colleague Liam Williams, who won
his only cap against the Barbarians in June, will take over on the left

Injury blow: Wales' George North

Injury blow: Wales' George North

North has scored 11 tries in his 25 Tests for Wales, and is one of the main attacking threats for the Six Nations champions, who are looking to get back on track after starting their autumn campaign with demoralising defeats to Argentina and Samoa.

Williams, who won his one and only Wales cap to date against the Barbarians in June, has impressed for the Scarlets so far this season, but in his preferred position of full-back.

Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde believes Williams is ready to face the All Blacks, saying: 'We are well aware of the threat George poses but we are fortunate to have someone like Liam, who has performed consistently well for the Scarlets, to fill in for him.

'One thing that is evident whenever he puts on the shirt for the Scarlets or for Wales is he is full of life, does not take a backward step and gives as good as he gets.'

The All Blacks could have their own injury problem with reports that fly-half Dan Carter suffered a leg or groin injury during yesterday's training session at the University of Glamorgan.

According to website www.stuff.co.nz Carter appeared in immediate discomfort and changed training bibs with Aaron Cruden during a shortened work-out because of bad weather.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was asked before training if Carter was carrying an injury and Hansen emphatically replied: 'No'.

Cruden would be the obvious replacement if 93 times-capped Carter is sidelined, although there has been no official comment from the All Blacks camp.

Carter has scored 162 points in nine appearances against Wales, while the All Blacks, who are unbeaten in 19 Tests, conclude their autumn tour against England at Twickenham on Saturday week.

Injury cut short his World Cup campaign last year, but the All Blacks still lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy after they lost Carter during the competition's pool stages.

Warren Gatland in France for talks with clubs over player availability

Gatland facing tough talks as Toulon say 'non' to Lions tour release



10:20 GMT, 6 September 2012

Warren Gatland was due to begin negotiations on Thursday with French clubs over the release of players for the Lions tour, having been given an early indication of the opposition he is likely to face.

Having been officially confirmed on Tuesday as the head coach for next summer's tour of Australia, the Kiwi's first assignment involves a trip across the Channel for urgent talks which could have a major bearing on his squad selection.

A number of Lions candidates are employed by Top 14 clubs but the French league final takes place on June 1 – the same day as the Lions tour opener against the Barbarians in Hong Kong.

Man in charge: Gatland will lead the Lions on their tour of Australia

Man in charge: Gatland will lead the Lions on their tour of Australia

Gatland has made it plain that he wants his entire touring party to leave the UK together at the end of May, and indicated that players unable to confirm their availability at that time may be left out, however strong their selection credentials.

The aim of his visit to France is to meet several key contenders such as Gethin Jenkins at Toulon, Mike Phillips at Bayonne, Perpignan's James Hook and Luke Charteris, and Lee /09/06/article-2199133-14DD5D72000005DC-766_468x307.jpg” width=”468″ height=”307″ alt=”Talks: Gatland will speak with Mike Phillips” class=”blkBorder” />

Talks: Gatland will speak with Mike Phillips

The double Grand Slam-winning Wales coach is holding talks today at Toulon, but the club's coach, Bernard Laporte, has already emphasised his staunch opposition to the idea of any players leaving to join the Lions before the league season is over.

'The international window starts on the weekend of June 9,' he said. 'Anything before that is outside the window.

'In relation to the anticipated release of Gethin (Jenkins), on principal, it is “no”! If we reach the (Top 14) final, he will leave the next day, Sunday, June 2, but not before. You don't pay a player to be playing with the Lions at the most important moment of the season.'

It is understood that there is no specific clause in Jenkins' contract with Toulon covering release for the full duration of a Lions tour.

Warren Gatland confirmed as British and Irish Lions boss for Australia 2013 tour

Gatland braced for 'hardest challenge' after being confirmed as Lions boss for Aussie tour



10:46 GMT, 4 September 2012

Warren Gatland is prepared for 'one hell of a challenge' after being confirmed as the British and Irish Lions head coach for the 2013 tour of Australia.

Gatland was the outstanding candidate for the post after leading Wales to the semi-finals of the 2011 Rugby World Cup and last season's Grand Slam triumph.

The Lions will tackle Australia in a three-Test series as part of a 10-match tour, which opens with a fixture against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1.

Aussie rules: Wales coach Gatland will lead the British and Irish Lions on their tour of Oz

Aussie rules: Wales coach Gatland will lead the British and Irish Lions on their tour of Oz

'There is no question it will be one hell of a challenge,' Gatland said. 'Playing in the southern hemisphere is one of rugby's hardest challenges. The Lions came close in South Africa (in 2009) and our ambition is to win the series in 2013 – and I believe we have the players to do that.'

Gatland, 48, will coach Wales in their autumn Tests against New Zealand and Australia but otherwise he will be seconded full-time to the Lions.

Gatland is expected to confirm his full coaching team in October and it would be a surprise if the likes of Graham Rowntree and Shaun Edwards are not involved.

All three were part of the 2009 Lions management in South Africa and received the backing of head coach Ian McGeechan to carry the torch to Australia.

'I am really honoured to have been asked to take the position of head coach,' Gatland added. 'I really enjoyed the experience as one of the assistant coaches in 2009 and since then have harboured the ambition to lead the tour to Australia next year.

'Over the coming months I will give careful consideration to the make-up of my coaching staff and of course the playing squad itself.

Into battle: Tour manager Andy Irvine with Lions head coach Gatland at the announcement

Into battle: Tour manager Andy Irvine with Lions head coach Gatland at the announcement

Lions Tour Fixtures 2013

Barbarians – June 1, Hong Kong

Western Force – June 5, Perth

Queensland Reds – June 8, Brisbane

Comb NSW-Queensland Country – June 12, Newcastle

NSW Waratahs – June 15, Sydney

ACT Brumbies – June 18, Canberra

Australia – June 22, Brisbane

Melbourne Rebels – June 25, Melbourne Jun

Australia – June 29, Melbourne

Australia – July 6, Sydney

'A Lions tour is unique, it is the ultimate career pinnacle for coaches and players. I want to ensure that we get the tour environment right so that we are hugely competitive and that our fans are proud of the team.'

The Lions had initially planned to hold the announcement in April but were forced into a delay after Gatland broke both his heels in a fall at his house in Waikato.

'It has been no secret that after the initial selection process, Warren was our preferred candidate,” tour manager Andy Irvine.

'We naturally had to ensure he was fit to take up the post. Those concerns have now been addressed.

'Warren has an outstanding coaching record and he has been fully embedded in rugby in the UK and Ireland since 1989.'

Gatland coached Ireland for three years between 1998 and 2001 before taking charge at Wasps, where he won a hat-trick of Premiership titles and the Heineken Cup.

In 2006, he moved back to New Zealand and coached his native Waikato to the New Zealand provincial title before Wales came calling.

Gatland took charge of a Wales side that had just crashed out of the pool stages of the World Cup and he made an immediate impact, guiding them to the first of two Grand Slam titles during his tenure.

The second was this year and it followed hot on the heels of Wales' greatest World Cup performance since 1987, when they came agonisingly close to beating France to earn a place in the final.

Gatland will become the second New Zealander to lead the Lions on tour to Australia, after Graham Henry's failed attempt to beat the Wallabies in 2001.

Rob Howley led Wales on their summer tour of Australia in Gatland's injury-enforced absence and will continue in that role through the 2013 RBS 6 Nations.

Revenge: The Lions - under Sir Graham Henry and Martin Johnson - lost the 2001 series 2-1

Revenge: The Lions – under Sir Graham Henry and Martin Johnson – lost the 2001 series 2-1

Warren Gatland- factfile

1963: Born September 17 in Waikato, New Zealand

1986: Made his debut for Waikato in the New Zealand provincial championship as a hooker, having switched from a number eight at the age of 21.

1988: Helped Waikato beat the touring Wales team and won his first All Blacks call-up, for the tour to Australia in 1988 and became a regular in the squad.

1994: Retired from playing having made a record number of appearances for Waikato (140) and 17 for the All Blacks, although he never won a Test cap, with his path blocked by Shaun Fitzpatrick.

1996: Coached Connacht for two seasons.

1998: Appointed Ireland head coach.

2001: Appointed Wasps director of rugby and kept the club in the Premiership.

2003: Wasps won Premiership title and Parker Pen European Shield.

2004: Wasps won Premiership title and the Heineken Cup.

2005: Wasps won Premiership title.

2006: Coached Waikato to the New Zealand provincial championship.

2007: Appointed Wales head coach, replacing Gareth Jenkins after Wales had crashed out in the pool stages of the World Cup.

2008: Coached Wales to the Six Nations, including their first win against England at Twickenham for 20 years.

2009: Appointed British and Irish Lions forwards coach for the tour of South Africa. The Lions were beaten 2-1.

2010: Signed a new four-year contract with the Welsh Rugby Union that included a sabbatical to cover the summer of 2013.

2011: Coached Wales to the semi-finals of the World Cup, their best performance since the inaugural tournament in 1987.

2012: Wales won their second Grand Slam in Gatland's tenure.
September 4 – Confirmed as British and Irish Lions head coach for 2013 tour of Australia.

Mike Tindall rejoins Gloucester as player-coach

Tindall raises eyebrows again with shock return to Gloucester as player-coach



19:18 GMT, 25 June 2012

Second coming: Tindall (right) was last seen in a Barbarians shirt last month

Second coming: Tindall (right) was last seen in a Barbarians shirt last month

England centre Mike Tindall has rejoined Gloucester after agreeing a one-year deal, the club have confirmed.

Tindall resumes his career at Kingsholm in the new role of player-coach and will help oversee development of the backline and defence.

The 33-year-old had been searching for a club after failing to secure a new contract under former head coach Bryan Redpath, whose own departure has enabled his return.

Gloucester's new director of rugby Nigel Davies has a track record of encouraging internal progression from the playing squad into coaching roles – Simon Easterby and Mark Jones are examples at the Scarlets – and he is continuing that trend at Kingsholm.

'Mike has a lot of valuable experience and great loyalty to Gloucester Rugby and its supporters and understands what it means to be a part of this club,' said Davies, who has only been at Gloucester for two weeks.

'It's important to have people involved that underpin your culture and values as a playing group.

Mentor: Tindall will be expected to nurtured Gloucester's talented young backline

Mentor: Tindall will be expected to nurtured Gloucester's talented young backline

'That investment can stretch beyond rugby performance – it's about harnessing the strength, commitment and drive from people that have an inherent loyalty and ambition for the team and business to succeed in the long-term.'

And Davies is in no doubt that Tindall, who has been at Gloucester for the last seven years, will have a key role to play as he adds a new chapter to an already stellar career.

'He will be operating as player and backs coach for me in the coming year. I think he has a very strong tradition and heritage with the club and a very good rugby brain,' Davies added of the 2003 World Cup winner.

'I think it's very important to have a certain amount of continuity at any club with your senior players and I see Mike providing that continuity.'

Dylan Hartley to captain England as Chris Robshaw is ruled out

Hartley to captain England in final Test with South Africa as Robshaw is ruled out with broken thumb



16:32 GMT, 18 June 2012

England captain Chris Robshaw has been ruled out of the third Test against South Africa due to a cracked right thumb.

Dylan Hartley will replace him as skipper.

Taking charge: Dylan Hartley (left) will captain England in the third Test

Taking charge: Dylan Hartley (left) will captain England in the third Test

Lancaster revealed that Robshaw had suffered a blow to the hand in the first Test in Durban before taking another knock in Saturday's second Test loss in Johannesburg.

Lancaster said: 'Chris, as you would imagine, is devastated. He has led us superbly in the last seven internationals and been one of our standout performers.

'But the medical advice is that he should not play and we have to trust that expert opinion.

'Dylan Hartley will captain the side. He has been a key part of our leadership group and I know he will step up to the task on Saturday.'

Robshaw's inspirational leadership has been one of the key reasons for England's progress since Lancaster appointed him for this year's RBS 6 Nations.

The 26-year-old Harlequins flanker said: 'I'm absolutely gutted. I've been very proud and honoured to lead this group during the Six Nations and on this tour and it's a difficult way to end the season.'

Robshaw will stay with the squad for the rest of the tour, which also includes a tour match against the Northern Barbarians in Potchefstroom on Tuesday.

Preparations: England train at St David's School in Sandton on Monday

Preparations: England train at St David's School in Sandton on Monday

He said: 'I know the lads can raise themselves for tomorrow and Saturday and I will be doing everything I can to support them.'

Meanwhile, England have named four of their side from Saturday's second Test loss to South Africa in the squad for the tour match against Northern Barbarians.

No 8 Ben Morgan, who started in Johannesburg, and scrum-half Lee Dickson, a substitute in the 36-27 defeat, have been included in the XV for the midweek game in Potchefstroom.

Winger David Strettle and lock Mouritz Botha, who also played from the start at the weekend, will be on the bench.

The selections suggest Lancaster is planning changes for the third Test against the Springboks in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Two players conspicuous by their absence from the midweek game are scrum-half Danny Care and No 8 Thomas Waldrom.

England must make a change at No 9 after Ben Youngs was forced out with a shoulder injury.

No rest: Ben Morgan in training on Monday at St. David's School in Sandton

No rest: Ben Morgan in training on Monday at St. David's School in Sandton

Dickson, who came off the bench to replace him in the first two Tests, had seemed to be in pole position but the decision to rest Care from midweek action suggests he is a strong contender.

Care, 25, is hoping to resurrect his international career after being dropped earlier this year following a series of off-field incidents.

Morgan has had two quiet Test matches while Waldrom, who scored two tries against the Southern Barbarians last week and was a substitute on Saturday, has been pushing for a place.

Scrum-half Karl Dickson and wing Jonny May, who have both joined up with the squad this week, will be among the replacements in Potchefstroom.

The decision to name flanker James Haskell on the bench also suggests he could be being kept relatively fresh for Saturday with captain Chris Robshaw out with a fractured thumb.

Another winger, Ugo Monye, will see his first action of the tour having been named in the starting line-up to face the Northern Barbarians after recovering from a hamstring injury.

George Lowe ruled out of remainder of South Africa tour

Crocked Lowe out of South Africa tour with ankle injury



14:01 GMT, 16 June 2012

Harlequins back George Lowe is to return home from England's tour of South Africa due to an ankle ligament injury.

Gloucester's Jonny May has been called up as a replacement and will join up with the squad in Johannesburg this morning.

Lowe, 22, was forced off early in the second half of an England XV's 54-26 win over the Southern Barbarians in Kimberley on Wednesday.

End of the road: Crocked Lowe has been forced to return home

End of the road: Crocked Lowe has been forced to return home

He had earlier scored one of England's eight tries having been included in the side as a late replacement for David Strettle, who was rested ahead of the second Test against South Africa.

He will now return home for further medical assessment after undergoing a scan. May, 22, flew out to South Africa overnight.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster said: 'It's a shame for George because he had a good game against the Southern Barbarians until he was injured. “But this is an opportunity for another young player who has come up through our age grade programme and into the Saxons to gain some valuable international tour experience.'

Over the line: Lowe scored one of eight tries for England on Wednesday

Over the line: Lowe scored one of eight tries for England on Wednesday

Lowe follows two other players in having his tour ended prematurely.

Full-back Mike Brown was ruled out after suffering a thumb ligament injury in last week's first Test and was replaced by Nick Abendanon.

Forward Joe Launchbury returned home before the first game with a knee injury. Jamie Gibson took his place in the squad.

Phil Dowson hamstring injury forces Second Test pull out

Waldrom replaces Dowson for England's second South Africa Test after hamstring injury



10:13 GMT, 15 June 2012

Northampton forward Phil Dowson has been forced to pull out of England's second Test against South Africa with a hamstring injury.

The back rower, who had been named on the bench for the clash in Johannesburg, suffered the injury in training and withdrew after assessment on Thursday night.

His place in the squad will be taken by Leicester's Thomas Waldrom, who scored two tries and was named man of the match in the midweek win over the Southern Barbarians in Kimberley.

Got ya: Jordan Turner-Hall is held back by Phil Dowson during England training

Got ya: Jordan Turner-Hall is held back by Phil Dowson during England training

The 29-year-old will now have the chance to earn his first cap as England seek to level the three-match series against the Springboks at Coca-Cola Park.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster used all seven of his replacements during the first Test loss in Durban, with Dowson coming on as a 62nd-minute replacement for number eight Ben Morgan.

The news is the latest fitness blow for England, who have lost full-back Mike Brown for the rest of the series with a thumb injury.

Centre Brad Barritt is out of the second Test after surgery on a lacerated eyeball while winger Ugo Monye has missed out on a possible recall this week because of a tight hamstring.

Stuart Lancaster defends decision drop Owen Farrell

Lancaster defends decision to ditch Farrell as England coach shakes up squad ahead of second Test



10:59 GMT, 14 June 2012

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has defended his decision to drop fly-half Owen Farrell for Saturday's second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.

After defeat in the first Test in Durban last weekend, Lancaster has revamped his backs by recalling Toby Flood in an attempt to level the three-match series.

Sportsmail's Chris Foy brought you the exclusive news of the shake-up ahead of Englad's second Test which sees Flood's inclusion at number 10 as one of three personnel changes for the clash at Coca-Cola Park.

All change: Flood (left) is in while Farrell (right) misses out

All change: Flood (left) is in while Farrell (right) misses out

All change: Flood (left) is in while Farrell (right) misses out

We told you first…

Sportsmail's Chris Foy reveals Lancaster's plans to drop Farrell

The 26-year-old will win his 49th cap and be reunited with his Leicester team-mate Ben Youngs in the halves.

Lancaster said: 'Owen has had a fantastic season and I am sure he will make a significant impact from the bench.

'However, Toby has waited patiently for his opportunity and the time is right to allow him the chance to demonstrate his experience and skills in what will be a very tough challenge.'

Jonathan Joseph is also being handed his first start at outside centre and wing David Strettle returns while Manu Tuilagi moves inside to take over from the injured Brad Barritt.

Strettle plays on the left wing with Ben Foden reverting to his preferred position of full-back following the loss of Mike Brown for the rest of the series with a thumb injury.

Farrell, who was unconvincing in Durban despite kicking four penalties, must make do with a place on the bench.

Owen going: Farrell has made changes to his team for the second Test

Owen going: Farrell has made changes to his team for the second Test

Saracens full-back Alex Goode, who was withdrawn at half-time in the midweek match against the Southern Barbarians, is also handed a place among the replacements.

There are no changes in the forwards but prop Alex Corbisiero, fit again after biceps and knee problems, is a replacement.

The decision to axe Farrell, Lancaster's only unforced changed, is the most eye-catching after the 20-year-old excelled in the RBS 6 Nations earlier this year.

Yet while England showed spirit and endeavour in their narrow 22-17 first Test loss, it was felt the team lacked spark.

Flood, who missed the end of the domestic season through injury, brought added impetus from the bench and he will now have the chance to do that from the start.

Joseph, 21, shone in a brief cameo at Kings Park and gets his opportunity as Barritt recovers from surgery to repair a lacerated eyeball.

Flood alert: Toby is in as Farrell drops down to the bench

Flood alert: Toby is in as Farrell drops down to the bench

Flood alert: Toby is in as Farrell drops down to the bench

Brown's injury ends Lancaster's experiment of playing Foden on the wing but his back-three partnership with Strettle, now recovered from a calf strain, and Chris Ashton was solid in the Six Nations.

Lancaster said: 'I am delighted for JJ. He has trained very well and showed against the Barbarians and in his short time on the field in the first Test that he is ready to make the step to international rugby.

'To have two 21-year-old centres is exciting and we are looking forward to seeing this combination in action.'

The selections of Flood and Joseph are bold ones and hooker Dylan Hartley feels England must take the game to the Springboks this weekend.

Hartley said: 'Last week we didn't play as much as we would have liked to and in the second half we defended for a lot of it. You can't really win games defending all the time.

'We need to take our chances. We can't keep coming out here and playing safe all the time, although you can't take too many risks.

'It is going to be another tough challenge in the heights of Johannesburg but I think we are all looking forward to it.'

Best foot forward: Farrell kicked four penalties in Durban

Best foot forward: Farrell kicked four penalties in Durban