Robshaw dropped as Brad Shields comes in to England’s starting XV
New Zealand-born player poised to make first start.
Brad Shields will start England’s second Test against South Africa after Chris Robshaw was dropped to the bench for the first time in his international career.
Shields, a New Zealander who qualifies through his parents, has been picked at blindside flanker to make his full debut just two weeks after joining up with Eddie Jones’ squad for the first time.
It is a bold selection call by Jones, who has viewed Robshaw as a key player until his decision to drop him from the matchday squad for Saturday’s clash in Bloemfontein.
“Based on South Africa’s likely selection of an extra line-out jumper we have decided to start with Brad Shields, which improves our line-out,” Jones said.
“It is tough on Chris Robshaw as he has been an outstanding player for us but I know he will bounce back.”
The only other change to the starting XV sees Joe Launchbury restored to the second row having completed his recovery from the calf injury that forced him to miss the first Test.
Launchbury partners Maro Itoje with Nick Isiekwe, who was withdrawn in a tactical substitution three minutes before half-time in the 42-39 defeat at Ellis Park and is now also overlooked for the bench.
Instead, the spot among the replacements that Shields filled in Johannesburg is taken by Mark Wilson, with the last remaining change to the 23 toppled by the Springboks in the firstTest seeing Danny Cipriani come in for Piers Francis.
Cipriani was a spectator last weekend despite a superb season at Wasps but Jones intends using him at Free State Stadium.
“Danny will come onto the bench as we are looking for something a little bit different to finish the game, which he can bring,” Jones said.
“He’s been training well and doing everything that has been asked of him.
“We have come here to win the series against South Africa and the squad is ready to go out and beat them this weekend.
“We have had a very good preparation this week and the intensity and executions in those sessions are going to put us in a good position for Saturday.
“The way the team have come together has been superb. Owen Farrell, with a number of the senior players, has really moulded the squad together. They are working hard to improve their game to make sure we win.”