Tag Archives: scarlets

Northampton approach Scarlets over move for Wales winger George North

Northampton approach Scarlets over move for Wales winger North

PUBLISHED:

20:22 GMT, 19 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:23 GMT, 19 March 2013

George North's agent has revealed the Scarlets and Northampton are in talks over a possible move for the Wales winger.

The giant three-quarter has one year left on his contract with the west Wales region, and helped Wales retain their RBS 6 Nations crown with a record 30-3 victory over England in Cardiff.

The 20-year-old has previously been linked with a move to France, where several members of the current Wales squad ply their trade, but his agent, Christian Abt confirmed discussions are being held with the Saints.

Targeted: Wales international George North could join the Premiership

Targeted: Wales international George North could join the Premiership

He told the BBC: 'There has been an approach between the two clubs to discuss a possible transfer.'

'I don't think it will drag on too long,' he added.

'I think these things need to happen quite quickly if it's going to happen so that each party knows where they stand.

'It's counter-productive to sort of drag on and for the player as well to know where he will be, so ideally I'm sure it will resolve itself in the next couple of weeks.'

Six Nations winner: North is among Wales' key players

Six Nations winner: North is among Wales' key players

If a move is completed North, widely expected to feature on the British & Irish Lions tour of Australia, would become the latest Wales player to opt to play club rugby outside the principality.

Mike Phillips (Bayonne), James Hook (Perpignan), Luke Charteris (Perpignan), Aled Brew (Biarritz), Lee Byrne (Clermont) and Paul James (Bath) have already moved, while Jamie Roberts and Dan Lydiate are set to cross the Channel this summer.

The Scarlets said they would not discuss players' contracts publicly when contacted by Press Association Sport, while Northampton also declined to comment on Abt's remarks.

Scarlets 16 Exeter 22: Steenson"s boot secures Chiefs" first Heineken Cup victory

Scarlets 16 Exeter 22: Steenson's boot secures Chiefs' first Heineken Cup victory

PUBLISHED:

16:45 GMT, 8 December 2012

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UPDATED:

16:45 GMT, 8 December 2012

Outside-half Gareth Steenson kicked 17 points as Exeter secured their first-ever Heineken Cup win with a Pool Five success over Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets.

Scrum-half Haydn Thomas gave the visitors the perfect start with a try on five minutes and the Chiefs led throughout from there on.

The Scarlets, who saw Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland carried from the field with an ankle injury in the second half, did grab back a late penalty try from a scrum but it was not enough as they crashed to a third straight European defeat.

The Scarlets were without wing George North with a hip injury but six Wales squad members returned to their starting line-up including Jonathan Davies who captained the region.

On the run: Gonzalo Camacho charges through the Scarlets defence

On the run: Gonzalo Camacho charges through the Scarlets defence

Exeter made six changes with Argentina winger Gonzalo Camacho starting and centre Sireli Naqelevuki returning to the side.

The Scarlets went through the phases after Richard Kelly won the kick-off but it was the Chiefs who made their mark with their first-ever Heineken Cup try after five minutes.

From a scrum full-back Luke Arscott made a break through midfield and Thomas was on his shoulder to go over. Steenson added the extras.

But the Scarlets responded almost immediately with a 30 metre penalty goal from Priestland to make it 7-3 after eight minutes.

That Scarlets score was cancelled out on 12 minutes with a Steenson penalty after the home pack had stood up in a scrum on their line.

Both sides were forced into significant changes in personnel. Scarlets lost tight-head prop Lee and Chiefs replaced Thomas.

And Steenson was on target again to extend the Chiefs lead to 10 points after Scarlets were caught offside from an Aled Davies box kick.

Stopped in his tracks: Scarlets' Richard Kelly is tackled by Sireli Naqelevuki

Stopped in his tracks: Scarlets' Richard Kelly is tackled by Sireli Naqelevuki

The Scarlets got themselves in a good attacking position but knocked the ball on at a ruck with Andy Fenby isolated.

But from the resulting scrum the Scarlets earned a penalty on the 30-minute mark which Priestland converted.

Chiefs responded with a third Steenson penalty after the Scarlets found themselves under pressure at the scrum, while Priestland missed a penalty from inside his own penalty two minutes before the interval.

The Chiefs produced an impressive attack from the kick off but a knock-on five metres out prevented them extending their 16-6 interval lead.

The Scarlets suffered a real setback when Priestland was carried off after picking up an ankle injury when he slipped when in possession. He was replaced by Aled Thomas.

And it got worse for the home side as Steenson was on target with his fourth penalty goal on 49 minutes to restore a 13-point lead.

Ganging up: Kevin Barrett is tackled by Scarlets' Johnathan Edwards and Phil John

Ganging up: Kevin Barrett is tackled by Scarlets' Johnathan Edwards and Phil John

Aled Thomas kicked a fine long range penalty but that was cancelled out four minutes later with Steenson's fifth penalty shot as Chiefs led 22-9 on the hour mark.

But despite their lead the Chiefs were forced to defend their 22 and in the process lost prop Ben Moon to the sin bin for collapsing a scrum

And with the extra man the Scarlets earned a penalty try from French referee Mathieu Raynal on 67 minutes to cut the Chiefs lead to 22-16

The Scarlets went in search of the winning score but despite hammering at Exeter's 22 the visitors held on for a famous win.

Deacon Manu will captain Fiji against England

Fiji name Manu as captain for England clash at Twickenham

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UPDATED:

18:47 GMT, 6 November 2012

Scarlets prop Deacon Manu has been confirmed as captain of Fiji for Saturday's QBE international against England at Twickenham.

The 33-year-old, who has 12 caps to his name, led Fiji on their 2010 tour of Europe and in last year's Rugby World Cup.

Skipper: Manu (left) will lead Fiji out against England on Saturday

Skipper: Manu (left) will lead Fiji out against England on Saturday

'Manu has led the team before and has shown good leadership skills,' said Fiji coach Inkike Male.

'With his experience and the respect the boys have in him, I am confident that he has the qualities in him to not only lead the front row, but the whole team.'

Wales blow as Adam Jones ruled out of autumn internationals

Blow for Wales as Jones is ruled out of big autumn clashes

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UPDATED:

22:32 GMT, 26 October 2012

Wales have suffered a major injury blow ahead of their demanding autumn series of Test matches.

Prop Adam Jones, regarded as one of the finest scrummagers in world rugby, will miss games against Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia due to a knee problem.

Jones went off early in the second half during the Ospreys' Heineken Cup defeat against Leicester on Sunday and now faces a lay-off of between six and 10 weeks.

Blow: Adam Jones is out of the autumn internationals

Blow: Adam Jones is out of the autumn internationals

The Wales squad, under interim head coach Rob Howley's direction, leave for a training camp in Poland this weekend.

Jones, 31, had been due to be part of those pre-autumn preparations, but he will now concentrate on regaining full fitness prior to Wales' RBS 6 Nations title defence.

The WRU said Jones will be regularly assessed to establish an accurate timescale for his return to playing. He was reviewed by an orthopaedic surgeon on Friday.

Jones, who has won 83 caps and played in two Tests for the British and Irish Lions on their 2009 South Africa tour, originally injured his knee last month.

But his early exit against Leicester set alarm bells ringing, and concerns over his fitness were sufficient for Wales to draft uncapped Scarlets prop Samson Lee into their squad as cover for Jones in Poland.

Injury: Dan Lydiate is likely to be out of action until after the Six Nations

Injury: Dan Lydiate is likely to be out of action until after the Six Nations

A decision on whether Lee now joins the autumn Test squad permanently, or another player is called up, will be made at a later date. Apart from his immense value to Wales, Jones could also be considered a prime candidate to tour Australia with the Lions next summer.

That squad will be headed up by Wales boss Warren Gatland, which is why Howley is in charge for Wales' autumn Test programme and the Six Nations campaign.

Wales' Six Nations opener is against Ireland in early February. Jones' absence is the second setback to hit Wales this term.

Flanker Dan Lydiate, player of the tournament in last season's Six Nations, suffered a serious ankle injury during a RaboDirect PRO12 game against Edinburgh. It is thought he is unlikely to regain full fitness until after the Six Nations, although like Jones, he should be fit and available for the Lions tour.

Wales start their autumn programme against Argentina on November 10 before facing Samoa six days later. They then meet world champions New Zealand on November 24 before concluding the autumn programme against Australia seven days later.

Wales have not beaten the All Blacks since 1953, while they will meet the Wallabies for the first time since losing all three Tests Down Under earlier this year.

Wales squad for autumn Tests includes Aaron Jarvis

Wales are caught in red tape as Howley's autumn preparations are hampered

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UPDATED:

21:14 GMT, 22 October 2012

French bureaucracy threatens Wales’ bid to beat the best teams in the world this autumn.

Central contracts were the focus of attention on Monday when Rob Howley named his 35-man squad for the four Tests against Argentina (November 10), Samoa (Nov 16), New Zealand (Nov 24) and Australia (Dec 1) — Ospreys prop Aaron Jarvis is the only uncapped player.

The good news is the return of centre Jamie Roberts, back from a long-term injury, into a midfield that missed him so badly.

Blow: Wales will be without the likes of Mike Phillips for their warm-up

Blow: Wales will be without the likes of Mike Phillips for their warm-up

WALES SQUAD FOR AUTUMN TESTS

Backs: L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), Liam
Williams (Scarlets), A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), G North (Scarlets), H
Robinson (Cardiff Blues), A Beck (Ospreys), J Davies (Scarlets), J
Roberts (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Scarlets), D Biggar (Ospreys), J
Hook (Perpignan), R Priestland (Scarlets), T Knoyle (Scarlets), M
Phillips (Bayonne), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues).

Forwards: S Andrews (Cardiff Blues), R
Bevington (Ospreys), P James (Bath), A Jarvis (Ospreys), G Jenkins
(Toulon), A Jones (Ospreys), R Hibbard (Ospreys), K Owens (Scarlets), M
Rees (Scarlets), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), L Charteris (Perpignan), I
Evans (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons),
R Jones (Ospreys), R McCusker (Scarlets), A Shingler (Scarlets), J
Tipuric (Ospreys), J Turnbull (Scarlets), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues,
capt).

But Roberts’ contract with the Cardiff Blues runs out in June next year, at the same time he qualifies as a doctor, and it is looking ever more likely that Wales will lose him to French club rugby.

The problem for Howley — who is acting head coach now that Warren Gatland has a Lions tour to prepare for — is that the final Test of the series against Australia falls outside the IRB’s official window during which clubs must release players for international duty.

Unless a late solution is found, Wales will have to prepare for that final match without their French-based players — scrum half Mike Phillips, loosehead prop Gethin Jenkins and utility back James Hook — because of club commitments, although second row Luke Charteris has extended release from Perpignan.

Howley said: ‘If Welsh players are being headhunted to play in France then we want some sort of arrangement where they become available for some preparation time and a game outside the IRB window.’

Taking the reins: Rob Howley (right) is in charge for Wales this autumn

Taking the reins: Rob Howley (right) is in charge for Wales this autumn

Wales will begin their preparations
for the autumn with a week’s training camp in Spala, Poland. Their
opening autumn Test is against Argentina on November 10,' Howley added.

'Argentina are first up, and after the experience they have gained in the Rugby Championship they will be a challenging and tough opponent, but this is a challenge we will look forward to.

'We know how important momentum is going into any series, and the bigger picture is the Rugby World Cup draw at the beginning of December, and how we perform against the Pumas, Samoa, the All Blacks and the Wallabies will have a direct effect on our seeding in that draw.

'We need a successful November to back up our performances at the World Cup in New Zealand and the Six Nations Grand Slam earlier this year, and we are determined to achieve it.'

Mike Phillips suspended by Bayonne

Wales scrum-half Phillips suspended by Bayonne for off-pitch misbehaviour

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UPDATED:

17:54 GMT, 28 September 2012

Bayonne have suspended Mike Phillips until further notice for the Wales scrum-half's off-pitch misconduct.

France winger Cedric Heymans has also been suspended by the Basque club, according to the BBC.

In a statement, Bayonne said: ‘The off field behaviour of Mike Phillips is unacceptable and he has been fined. He has also been suspended until further notice.’

Suspended: Mike Phillips has been disciplined by his club for his off-pitch behaviour

Suspended: Mike Phillips has been disciplined by his club for his off-pitch behaviour

Heymans was suspended for comments he made about the club’s fans to local media.

French sports daily newspaper, L’Equipe, reported that Bayonne’s president Alain Afflelou said of Phillips’ behaviour: ‘It is not the first time, I’m sick of it.’

The statement also said: ‘All players are now warned, the club will no longer allow misconduct on the part of players and they may be exposed to greater penalties.

‘We have enough quality young players at the club.

Phillips was suspended along with France wing Cedric Heymans

Phillips was suspended along with France wing Cedric Heymans

Phillips was suspended along with France wing Cedric Heymans

Phillips was suspended along with France wing Cedric Heymans

‘Just because some are bigger names, it does not mean they are protected and above the group.

‘Through these measures, I also want to preserve the vast majority of players who give back and get involved on a daily basis for the good of the club.

‘Finally, it is to respect the fans who invest in and support their team.’

Phillips was due to sit out Bayonne’s Basque derby against Biarritz on Sunday as the former British and Irish Lion was to undergo an operation on his hand.

The suspension of the two players could not come at a worse time for the club, as they sit second bottom in the French Top 14.

Just 15 months earlier, the former Scarlets and Cardiff Blues star was suspended by Wales following a late-night incident outside a fast-food restaurant in Cardiff.

Gavin Henson injury – London Welsh take no action

No action over Henson injury after London Welsh accept no malice was involved

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UPDATED:

22:02 GMT, 29 August 2012

London Welsh have averted a drawn-out
conflict with the Scarlets over Gavin Henson’s latest injury setback,
by publicly conceding that no player from the region was at fault for
the incident which left him with a fractured cheekbone.

The 30-year-old former Wales centre
was forced to leave the field in the 33rd minute of a pre-season
friendly away to the Welsh side on Saturday.
And the next day he learned he would be out of action for six weeks after undergoing corrective surgery to the damaged area.

In the aftermath of the episode, the
Exiles had expressed anger at what they considered to be a reckless late
tackle — allegedly carried out by Scarlets prop Deacon Manu — and
indicated a desire to pursue the matter.

Six weeks out: Gavin Henson suffered a fractured cheekbone last Saturday

Six weeks out: Gavin Henson suffered a fractured cheekbone last Saturday

However, having closely assessed the collision which caused the injury, Welsh have concluded that no further action is required.

A statement released by the club read: ‘The club are satisfied that the injury to Gavin was caused by an accidental clash of heads. The club does not attach blame to any Scarlets player.’

Robbie Deans’ position as Australia coach is in the balance, nine months before the Lions head Down Under to face the Wallabies in a three-Test series, so much so that a major rival has claimed he will be feeling the mounting pressure.

‘He’s bound to be, he’s got to be, I think the players are too,’ said Steve Hansen, whose All Blacks side crushed Australia 22-0 in Auckland last Saturday.

‘They had the same look in their faces They were flabbergasted, “Where do we go next, what do we do next”

‘It’s not a great position to be in when you are like that.’ It was the first time the Wallabies had failed to score a point in a match against New Zealand for 50 years.

It was also a 14th defeat in 17 Tests for Deans against his home country and the 10th successive year that Australia have lost the Bledisloe Cup against their trans-Tasman rivals.

But Hansen attempted to defend his former Canterbury Crusaders coaching colleague.

He added: 'Just because Australia aren’t winning against us doesn’t make Robbie a bad coach.

'Any team that gets his services are going to benefit from it. They’re still the No 2 side in the world.'

Richard Haughton has left Championship newcomers Jersey after just one game to join French club Perpignan as a ‘medical joker’ on a short-term contract.

The 31-year-old former Wasps and Saracens wing- cum-full back has exploited an exit clause in his contract to accept an approach from the Catalans.

Edin Dzeko faces possible Manchester City fall-out with Roberto Mancini

Dzeko faces possible fall-out with City boss Mancini as he plays for Bosnia despite injury

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UPDATED:

07:57 GMT, 17 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Edin Dzeko could face the wrath of Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini after he played for Bosnia-Herzegovina against Wales with a knee injury.

The 26-year-old forward ultimately played the full 90 minutes on Wednesday night at Parc-y-Scarlets, and was a star performer in Bosnia's comfortable win.

But Mancini is unlikely to have been impressed by his decision to risk his fitness so close to the start of a Premier League title defence and the end of the transfer window.

Impressive: Dzeko in action for Bosnia against Wales on Wednesday

Impressive: Dzeko in action for Bosnia against Wales on Wednesday

Dzeko has been linked with a move away from the Etihad Stadium, with Juventus being among the clubs to reportedly have bids turned down.

But the chances of any deal being completed could be in jeopardy after Bosnia coach Safet Susic revealed the striker had made the decision the feature in the midweek international despite his knee problem.

He said: 'There was a question about him starting because he has a problem with his knee and maybe he should not have played. But I left it for him to decide whether he wanted to.

'There was a problem with his knee. We spoke and I said it was up to him.

'Dzeko is the top player in our team. And he can play in our team as long as he wants unless he asks to be substituted.'

Roberto Mancini and Edin Dzeko

Roberto Mancini and Edin Dzeko

Edin for a falling-out Dzeko in training with Mancini last season (left) and celebrating title success (right)

Dzeko, who joined City from Wolfsburg for a 27million fee in January of last year has started only seven Premier League games in 2012.

He scored 14 league goals last season, including the injury-time equaliser in the thrilling title-clinching win over QPR, but six of those came during the opening month of the season as he dropped down the pecking order with Mancini also able to call upon Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli.

But Susic does not believe Dzeko needs to leave City to ensure regular first-team football.

'Knowing him, he always wants to play,' he said. 'But he is at a big team where there is big competition where he plays.

'There are a lot of extremely good players at Manchester City but the hope for me is that there are also a lot of matches in different competitions so even if he is not in the league games he will still play lots of times.'

Tom Johnson prepared for England debut against South Africa

Johnson's turned down the Army for… National Service

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UPDATED:

22:23 GMT, 7 June 2012

No matter what extremes of courage, commitment and physical endurance England will have to produce against South Africa on Saturday, Tom Johnson is unlikely to be unnerved on his Test debut, having come so close to abandoning rugby for a career in the Parachute Regiment.

The 29-year-old Exeter flanker was confirmed yesterday as one of two uncapped players in the side named by Stuart Lancaster for the first Test at Kings Park stadium, along with Harlequins prop Joe Marler.

Johnson's promotion to the blindside berth in the enforced absence of Tom Croft and Tom Wood sees another player join the growing ranks of those who have taken remarkably convoluted routes into the national team.

Step up: Johnson (fourth left) in training with England in Durban

Step up: Johnson (fourth left) in training with England in Durban

Since Lancaster took over as head coach at the end of last year, many newcomers have emerged from backwaters of the game, including Ben Morgan, whose path to the top included a crash course in professional fitness at the Scarlets in west Wales, and Mouritz Botha, who was stripping asbestos before making the grade at Saracens.

Lee Dickson, the Northampton scrum-half, was poised to enrol with the Marines before making his breakthrough at Newcastle.

Johnson is another Englishman born into a forces family in Germany – Dusseldorf in his case – and, while he was getting by with the help of a student loan and playing for Reading in National League Three South, he certainly wouldn't have imagined this day would come.

In fact, he was ready to sign up at the Army's officer recruitment centre at Colchester.

'It is quite amazing when I think about it,' he said. 'I remember when I was deciding to go to rugby or the Army, the Paras.

'In their interview, they said, “Do you think you would make a professional rugby player”. I said I probably wouldn't, and the Army was probably more realistic. That was when I was 22 – seven years ago.

Push comes to shove: Lancaster overseeing England's final preparations

Push comes to shove: Lancaster overseeing England's final preparations

Push comes to shove: Lancaster overseeing England's final preparations

'I wanted to go into the infantry and, after a few tests, they suggested I should take on the Paras (training programme). My brother, Ben, has just come back from Afghanistan, he is in the Royal Logistics Corps. My old man, Richard, was air commodore in the RAF.'

For Johnson, the turning point came with a move to the Midlands.

'I was playing for Reading and got a letter from Coventry, saying, “Please come and meet us”. They offered me a one-year deal. I thought I should give it a go for a year otherwise I would probably regret it.

'It seems I made the right decision. It was good at Coventry, but it was close for a couple of years whether I was going to keep playing rugby or join the army.'

He has been in fine form since moving to Exeter and his displays led to a try-scoring appearance for England in the non-cap game against the Barbarians last year. He put in another superb display in the same fixture this season. Johnson is grateful to Exeter for assisting his progress.

'The coaches have to take a lot of credit for what they have instilled in us,' he said. 'Rob Baxter (head coach) said (my selection) was well deserved and told me to enjoy it.'

That is what Marler plans to do, too, after being promoted to the No 1 shirt on the back of a superb season for champions Harlequins.

Ready to fight: Captain Chris Robshaw and Mouritz Botha enjoy some banter during training

Ready to fight: Captain Chris Robshaw
and Mouritz Botha enjoy some banter during training

Ready to fight: Captain Chris Robshaw and Mouritz Botha enjoy some banter during training

The 21-year-old loosehead convinced Lancaster of his Test readiness with a solid scrummaging display against England tighthead Dan Cole in the Premiership final, but also with his set-piece efforts in training during the Six Nations, when he was not picked but his advances were noted.

Referring to those regular, 'live' scrummaging sessions at the team's Surrey training base, Marler said: 'I was just thinking, “I've got to get things right here or I could be embarrassed”. Coley is a top scrummager so for me to be up against him in training was a great experience. There were a couple of difficult moments early on, when I thought, “I better learn fast here”. I'm still learning now.'

He has learned over time to control what was once a short fuse, although the Springbok pack will no doubt seek to test his self-restraint, as Marler is well aware.

'I'm sure they will pick on me at some point,' he said. 'But it is my responsibility to stay on the field and do my job.'

As revealed in Thursday's Sportsmail, Lancaster has moved Ben Foden to the wing to make room for Mike Brown at full back. Brown's left-footed kicking is seen as a potential asset.

Team ethic: The players come together to talk through plans for the first Test

Team ethic: The players come together to talk through plans for the first Test

Joe Marler and Tom Johnson to make England debuts

Lancaster backs debutant duo Marler and Johnson to shine in Durban

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UPDATED:

09:19 GMT, 7 June 2012

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has insisted he had no hesitation in handing debuts to Joe Marler and Tom Johnson in Saturday's first Test against South Africa at Kings Park, Durban.

Lancaster announced his squad for the first match of the three-Test series on Thursday morning, confirming, as Sportsmail revealed on Wednesday evening, that the pair would start alongside Mike Brown, recalled at full-back.

Setting the style: Marler with his Mohican haircut

Setting the style: Marler with his Mohican haircut

Hair apparent: Joe Marler's strong game in the loose and improving scrummaging has earned him a Test debut

Hair apparent: Joe Marler's strong game in the loose and improving scrummaging has earned him a Test debut

England team to face South Africa in the first Test at Kings Park, Durban, on Saturday, June 9:

M Brown (Harlequins); C Ashton (Northampton), M Tuilagi (Leicester), B Barritt (Saracens), B Foden (Northampton); O Farrell (Saracens), B Youngs (Leicester); J Marler (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton), D Cole (Leicester), M Botha (Saracens), G Parling (Leicester), T Johnson (Exeter), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), B Morgan (Scarlets).

Replacements: L Mears (Bath), P Doran Jones (Northampton), T Palmer (Stade Francais), P Dowson (Northampton), L Dickson (Northampton), T Flood (Leicester), J Joseph (London Irish).

TV: Sky Sports 2 from 3.30pm

Harlequins prop Marler, 21, gets his
chance at loosehead with Alex Corbisiero struggling with a knee injury,
while Exeter flanker Johnson, 29, starts at blindside with both Tom
Croft and Tom Wood ruled out of the tour and James Haskell having just
arrived from a spell with New Zealanders Otago Highlanders.

Lancaster was full of praise for the
pair. 'Tom and Joe have had great seasons at their clubs and have worked
really hard to get this chance, both are in great form and have really
impressed in training,' he said.

Lancaster also explained his
decision to move Ben Foden from full-back to wing to cover for David
Strettle's injury and to accomodate Marler's fellow Quin Brown.

'Equally, Mike Brown has been outstanding for Harlequins,' added Lancaster.

'/06/07/article-0-136A4264000005DC-448_634x397.jpg” width=”634″ height=”397″ alt=”Late bloomer: Tom Johnson makes his debut aged 29″ class=”blkBorder” />

Late bloomer: Tom Johnson makes his debut aged 29

There is a fourth change
to the side that beat Ireland in England's final Six Nations game with
Ben Youngs returning at scrum-half in place of Lee Dickson, who drops to
the bench.

Lancaster explained that Youngs' selection was based on
form, while he also revealed that fellow scrum-half Danny Care will play
in the midweek tour match against SA Barbarians South

'Selection is competitive in lots of positions, particularly at scrum-half,' Lancaster said.

Time on the ball: Marler preparing for the first Test with South Africa

Time on the ball: Marler preparing for the first Test with South Africa

Elevation: Mike Brown (centre) will start as full back

Elevation: Mike Brown (centre) will start as full back

'We are really pleased with Ben's form and he knows our systems well.

'Lee,
if he gets his chance from the bench, I am sure will make an impact and
Danny will get his opportunity to press his case, as will the others,
in the first midweek game on Wednesday.

'We have made no secret of
how tough this series will be but it is an opportunity we are looking
forward to and I am confident that we can perform.'

Putting the time in: Chris Robshaw prepares for opening game against South Africa

Putting the time in: Chris Robshaw prepares for opening game against South Africa

Hair-raising: Marler scrummages during England training in Durban

Hair-raising: Marler scrummages during England training in Durban

Owen Farrell starts alongside Youngs at fly-half with Toby Flood preferred to Charlie Hodgson among the replacements.

Another
uncapped player, London Irish centre Jonathan Joseph, is also named
among the replacements ahead of the likes of Christian Wade and Ugo
Monye after an impressive two-try performance agains the Barbarians at
Twickenham last month.