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England freshens up for Boks

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

LONDON — England coach Stuart Lancaster expects to be without prop Joe Marler for Saturday's match against South Africa after the Harlequins front row suffered a knee injury during the defeat by Australia.

Marler, who has a medial cruciate ligament problem, is set to be replaced in England's match-day 23 by Alex Corbisiero, who has made two starts for London Irish over the last two weeks after recovering from a knee injury of his own.

But it is not only at loose-head prop where England coach Stuart Lancaster is considering changes to his side following last Saturday's 20-14 loss to the Wallabies at Twickenham.

London Irish centre Jonathan Joseph and Northampton flanker Tom Wood could also come into contention as Lancaster seeks a first win as England coach against one of rugby's big three after the Australia reverse followed two defeats and a draw on tour against the Springboks earlier this year.

"We will potentially freshen things up with one or two changes," Lancaster said Monday. "The selection will be based on a variety of things. First and foremost the challenge of South Africa, their physicality and the performances they have been putting in on this tour."

England held a review session earlier Monday where their decisions in opting against going for goal with several kickable penalties were examined and attention paid to South Africa, 21-10 winners over Scotland at Murrayfield last Saturday. "We have to take what we can out of the (Australia) game," Lancaster said.

"We talked about all the decisions made in the game. I will support the players in their decision because it is a real-time decision.

"But we have to make sure we get those decisions correct. Did we get them all right? There are some that have been reviewed but I won't criticise the players for having a mindset to win the game."


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