Eng­land get Launch­bury boost ahead of sec­ond Test

Daily News - - SPORT - NICK SAID

ENG­LAND re­ceived a ma­jor boost ahead of the must-win sec­ond Test against South Africa when lock Joe Launch­bury was passed fit to play, af­ter com­ing through train­ing yes­ter­day.

The Wasps cap­tain missed the 42-39 de­feat to the Spring­boks in the first Test at El­lis Park last week­end, with his re­place­ment, Nick Isiekwe, sub­sti­tuted be­fore half-time in an un­der­whelm­ing dis­play.

Launch­bury is ex­pected to start along­side Maro Itoje in the sec­ond row and will boost not only the set-piece, but also the mus­cle of the pack with the ball in hand.

“Joe Launch­bury trained to­day and trained well,” Eng­land for­wards coach Steve Borth­wick said.

“He’s done a great job with his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and is avail­able for se­lec­tion,” he said. “He’s a big lock but is also very tal­ented. You can see his abil­ity to run in the loose but also his abil­ity in the tight.

“He’s very good around the maul, both in at­tack and de­fence and is a very good scrum­mager.”

It is likely that New Zealand-born lock Brad Shields will again start on the bench af­ter mak­ing his de­but in the first Test.

Wing Jonny May says the side must im­prove their dis­ci­pline if they are to level the se­ries at the Free State Sta­dium and end a run of four straight Test de­feats dat­ing back to the Six Na­tions.

Eng­land con­ceded 17 penal­ties in the first match, al­low­ing the Boks to claw their way back from 24-3 down to win the game.

“We have spo­ken about dis­ci­pline be­fore, it isn’t like it’s been brushed over. In the Six Na­tions it killed us and it was as bad as ever at the week­end,” May said.

“Hope­fully we have re­alised, we should have re­alised by now, the im­pact one penalty has on the mo­men­tum of a game, let along back-to-back penal­ties.

“We are guilty of the same things, it’s frus­trat­ing sit­ting here say­ing the same things again, but we didn’t adapt and learn quick enough on the pitch.”

The third and fi­nal Test will be played in Cape Town on June 23. – Reuters

JOE LAUNCH­BURY

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