Six of England’s best set to do battle with Boks


They’ve achieved this success in a relatively short period, mainly due to the rejuvenated commitment that Jones has instilled into this players.

Here, Wynona Louw looks at the six key men that drive this new look England.

Owen Farrell

What comes to mind first when one thinks of Owen Farrell is his boot. And the fact that he seldom misses a kick at goal. But there’s much more to him than just his deadly precision. Farrell is a real game manager and he is a player who can get into his opposition’s mind. Whether it’s telling touch judges where the line-out should be, shouting at his teammates to “smash em” (their opposite man) or making hit after hit, he is a lot to deal with. So whether he pulls the strings at No 10 or leads the defensive line at No 12, Farrell is a man to watch.

Billy Vunipola

I shudder to think of what this No 8 can do to opposition defences, especially poorly organised ones. He describes his style of play as a fourth front-rower, and it’s easy to see why. Vunipola’s sheer strength and power is as close to a human train as can be, and that can be seen in his ability to break through defences and get over the gain line. But any strong man can break through tackles when the momentum is going. Vunipola, however, can do it from a standing start. On many occasions it has taken up to five players to stop him. Defenders, beware.

Chris Robshaw

An openside flanker (although he plays more like a hybrid between six and seven), Chris Robshaw has an incredibly high work-rate, both offensively and defensively. His tackling is relentless and he does a great deal of the unseen graft as well. So, I think it’s safe to say the Boks can’t afford to slack at the breakdowns on Saturday.

Maku Vunipola

They say bad luck comes in threes, so luckily for the Boks there isn’t a third Vunipola brother in the England squad ... The Saracens loosehead prop is not exactly known for his scrummaging prowess, but he makes up for that by usually ending up as one of the top tacklers in a match.

Oh, and let’s not forget about those barnstorming carries. He was an influential figure during England’s 3-0 series whitewash of Australia in June, and whether it’s Vunipola or bad boy Joe Marler that will pack down in the No 1 jersey against Allister Coetzee’s charges, it’s going to be tough up front.

Courtney Lawes

There are few things that can rattle a player more than a thumping hit during a game. And no-one will know that better than anybody who has ever had the pleasure of being tackled by this man, who can play at lock or loose forward. Needless to say, England can enjoy capitalising on many dislodged balls and fumbled passes by their opponents if this man gets a shot this weekend.

Oh, just to clarify if anything is unclear; Lawes of course usually targets the halfback pairing (as he should). So, a friendly note to the lucky men who will wear the green and gold No 9 and 10 jerseys at Twickenham - don’t let him get you off your game. Now back to Lawes, all I’m going to add is that his line speed is phenomenal for such a big man, which makes the impact of those tackles even worse.

George Ford

Just like Farrell, George Ford is spot-on with his kicking out of hand and at goal. He helped England become a real attacking force when he got to wear the England flyhalf jersey alongside Johnathan Joseph after Farrell sustained an injury that ruled him out of the 2015 Six Nations.

Ford’s agility is deceptive. He is an elusive athlete with ball in hand and glides and slides through defenders. His attacking abilities provide England with a real spark to keep them on the front foot when attacking. He pulls the strings with his wide array of passes and kicks, chips and flicks. So all in all, there’s no telling what magic Ford will dish out.

Cape Times

Original source: Six of England's best set to do battle with Boks