Launch­bury re­turns for must-win Boks clash

Daily Mail - - Tennis - CHRIS FOY Rugby Correspondent in Umh­langa

JOE LAUNCH­BURY’S sud­den, timely re­cov­ery from in­jury has paved the way for Ed­die Jones to con­sider a back-row over­haul for Satur­day’s sec­ond Test against the Spring­boks. Wasps lock Launch­bury had been un­able to train prop­erly since ar­riv­ing in South Africa and his prospects of be­ing avail­able to play at Free State Sta­dium in Bloem­fontein ap­peared to be fad­ing. But the 27-year-old was able to take part in ses­sions yes­ter­day and was cleared for a swift re­turn to ac­tion in a Test Eng­land must win af­ter de­feat in the opener in Jo­han­nes­burg. There was spec­u­la­tion that Kiwi re­cruit Brad Shields might have been picked to start in the sec­ond row but, with Launch­bury (right) now ready to part­ner Maro Itoje at lock, there is ex­pected to be a reshuf­fle in the back row. Chris Rob­shaw, who was un­con­vinc­ing against the Boks last week­end, is un­der­stood to be the man most un­der threat if Jones opts to start Wasps-bound Hurricanes cap­tain Shields. Asked about how Rob­shaw had per­formed at El­lis Park, Eng­land for­wards coach Steve Borth­wick said: ‘I think there were as­pects of his game that went well and, as with all the play­ers, there are as­pects that we need to im­prove on.’ On Shields, who made his Test debut off the bench last week­end, Borth­wick said: ‘His at­tributes? Firstly, his strength of char­ac­ter. He’s a fan­tas­tic leader, his team-mates have re­spect for him. Se­condly, in­cred­i­ble work-rate.’ Nathan Hughes will be a club-mate of Shields next sea­son and he said: ‘Brad has a lot of tal­ent. I’m look­ing for­ward to him com­ing to Wasps and we’re ex­cited to have him in the team with Eng­land.’ Jones names his sec­ond Test line-up at lunchtime to­day.

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