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Marcus Smith out as changed England line up announced

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Thursday Oct 19, 2023

England and South Africa go head to head, toe to toe, fist to fist, once again this coming Saturday. This is promising to be another titanic battle between the two sides, with the stakes as high as high as they were four years ago in Yokohama.

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The two powerhouses have played each other just twice since the 2019 World Cup with one win apiece. England took the first victory in Twickenham at the back end of 2021, two whole years after their loss in Japan. It was thanks to the gutsy effort from the men in white that victory was achieved, even when the odds were against them when the side went down to 14 men.

Almost exactly a year later, it was the Springbok’s turn to take victory at the home of English rugby. The visitors were powerful, effective, and motivated, a combination proving far too much for an out-of-form England side.

The past eight matches, ranging from 2016 to the present, have seen a regular shift of success between the two sides. Both sides have achieved four victories each, with the deadline set to be broken on Saturday.

Despite England’s dangerously close victory over Fiji last weekend, it was without a doubt their finest performance in recent times. That’s probably why England head coach Steve Borthwick has elected to lead with an almost unchanged side from last week.

The biggest change is the very noticeable absence of Marcus Smith. The fly half come fullback has been deemed unfit for competition due to a concussion following last weekends match against Fiji – a diagnosis that may have ended his own World Cup campaign.

There has also been major changes in the pack, with both Joe Marler and George Martin taking their places in the starting team. The move appears to be a direct response to South Africa’s ‘bomb squad’ routine they employ to gain an advantage at the start of the second half.

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Both Ellis Genge and Ollie Chessum who have both had impressive World Cup campaigns thus far will be expected to provide that extra muscle to combat the Springbok threat.

See the team here:

 

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