Johnson swells the Wasps swarm with recall of Haskell
时间：2019-11-16 责任编辑：郏暮帐 来源：银河网投官网 点击：230 次
Not long ago it was who monopolised the squad while others struggled to get a look-in. That may still be true among the management - even the Australian-reared attack coach, Brian Smith, used to play for the Tigers -but the recall of James Haskell to the starting XV against this Saturday in the only change from the side beaten by means supply seven members of England's line-up with one more, Simon Shaw, on the bench.
Given Martin Johnson's club loyalties, it says much for the all-for-one ethos of the manager's remodelled England. As Lawrence Dallaglio recalled the other day, it is only relatively recently that the two tribes were so instinctively separate that they sat at different dining tables during Test weeks. These days they spend more time together as a national squad and domestic allegiances are less ostentatious, though the huge swarm of Wasps is still significant.
If Shaw gets on, the domestic title-holders will be one short of the England record set in August 1999 when nine Leicester players were capped against Canada at Twickenham.
With the world champions bearing down, it would be slightly more reassuring if Wasps were higher up this season's Premiership table than 11th but Haskell, in particular, cannot afford to be distracted against a high-quality Springbok back row. For two weeks he has sat frustrated on the bench, playing only a minor role as a replacement.
"There has been disappointment and anger that I haven't played," admitted the 23-year-old, preferred to Tom Croft and keen to make up for lost time against his formidable opposite number Schalk Burger. "I've not been angry about people's selections, more the fact that I let myself down in my first few games for Wasps this season."
"It will be exciting to play against Schalk because he's one of the guys I've tried to model my game on. He combines physicality and abrasiveness with a large amount of skill. That's the mould of a top international player and something to try and emulate. If I didn't think I was up for the challenge, I'd be hiding in my room or jumping in my car and driving out of here."
Johnson is clearly banking on Haskell to combat the confrontational threat heading England's way and to help reverse the outcome of the last meeting between the two countries 13 months ago. There are only four English starting survivors from the 2007 World Cup final in Paris and Johnson does not expect anything less than a bruising reunion. "It's not optional. We have to be out there hitting them as hard as they hit us, if not harder. If you're not up to it, they'll keep coming at you."
The manager has also warned his squad to ignore South African protestations of weariness, preferring to focus on the need to concede fewer kickable penalties. "It's very difficult to win if you're giving them 21 points," he said, referring to Australia's seven penalties from eight attempts in their 28-14 victory last Saturday. "It still rankles. We need to cut out mistakes and put ourselves in a position in the last 20 minutes to win the game. Guys have to be aware that, when you play South Africa, three points is a big deal. The World Cup final was a classic example."
The only uncapped presence will be Leicester's muscular young No8 Jordan Crane - there are no Tigers in the team but four are lurking in reserve - who has sneaked in ahead of Bath's Michael Lipman. Any squad member who continues to stray "off the script", to use one of Johnson's recurring phrases, will have some explaining to do but there has been no loss of faith in Danny Cipriani's playmaking potential or Steve Borthwick's captaincy. While Borthwick was one of four England players not to train yesterday, along with Phil Vickery, Riki Flutey and Delon Armitage, he continues to enjoy Johnson's full support: "It's an easy finger to point. He's a fantastic leader."
Borthwick, even so, could do with a commanding performance, particularly with his team hovering outside the top four of the world rankings on the eve of the 2011 World Cup draw next month. England will also be temporarily moving accommodation to Richmond this week, their Bagshot base having been hired by a banking corporation. The bankers have since pulled out but England were unable to cancel their revised booking, hence the change of scenery. If it brings a change of luck, Johnson will not be remotely bothered.
England (v South Africa, Saturday) D Armitage (London Irish); Sackey (Wasps), Noon (Newcastle), Flutey (Wasps), Monye (Harlequins); Cipriani (Wasps), Care (Harlequins); Sheridan (Sale), Mears (Bath), Vickery (Wasps), Borthwick (Saracens, capt), Palmer (Wasps), Haskell (Wasps), Rees (Wasps), Easter (Harlequins). Replacements Hartley (Northampton), Stevens (Bath), Shaw (Wasps), Croft, Crane, Ellis, Flood (all Leicester).
Habana fit for England
Bryan Habana, the misfiring Springboks wing, will line up against England on Saturday despite taking a blow to his thigh against Scotland. South Africa's backline coach, Dick Muir, said. "I'm sure Bryan will start." Habana the current IRB player of the year, has scored only once in his last eight appearances for the world champions despite racking up 39 tries in 45 Tests.
South Africa will not confirm their team until tomorrow as they give the scrum-half Fourie du Preez and the prop Brian Mujati time to recover from injuries. "We haven't got a final assessment on some of the players, so we're just going to wait and see," said Muir. The hooker Bismarck du Plessis and prop Gurthro Steenkamp are both out so the prop Jannie du Plessis has been called from South Africa, where Muir said he was, "on standby on the farm". South Africa will be allowed to continue to use the Springbok emblem for the foreseeable future despite some claims it is divisive. Mikey Stafford