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Page last updated at 12:08 GMT, Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Flanker Haskell back for England

Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 22 November Kick-off: 1430 GMT Coverage: Live on Sky Sports and BBC Radio 5 Live. Highlights on BBC Three (Saturday, 1910 GMT) and BBC Two (Sunday, 1510 GMT), BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website. Live text commentary on BBC Sport website
James Haskell pictured in action for England
Haskell is recalled after being on the bench for the last two games

England have made one change for Saturday's match against world champions South Africa at Twickenham.

Wasps' James Haskell replaces Tom Croft of Leicester at blind-side flanker in an otherwise unchanged starting XV.

Croft drops to the bench, where he is joined by Tigers team-mate Jordan Crane as Michael Lipman drops out of the 22.

Saturday's match will be the first time England have met the Springboks since losing 15-6 to them in the 2007 World Cup final in Paris.

Haskell, 23, was one of the England's few successes on the ill-fated summer tour of New Zealand but struggled for form as Wasps made a poor start to the season.

Croft took his place for the Tests against the Pacific Islanders and Australia but the 6ft 4in, 18 stone Haskell offers a more physical presence in defence and as a ball carrier around the fringes and impressed after coming on midway through Saturday's defeat by the Wallabies.

We are aware of the mistakes we made against Australia and have spent this week trying to correct them

England boss Martin Johnson

"If I didn't think I was up to the challenge I'd be hiding in my room and be driving my car out of here. I feel I can compete on the international stage," said Haskell.

"What I bring is ball carrying and tackling and I'll just try to play my normal game. It's how the team plays and how I fit into it. One man can't beat a South Africa team."

England boss Martin Johnson said the decision to go with Haskell was not because Croft had played badly in his two starts.

"James Haskell is a different type of player," said Johnson. "They're both exciting young guys, they're both very good players, they're just a little bit different in what they can bring to the team.

"We thought this week, against this opposition, James was the right guy to start at six."

Phil Vickery has held off the challenge of Bath's Matt Stevens at tight-head prop as the English tight five, which failed to impress against Australia, is handed another chance against the powerful Springbok outfit.

England players must step up - Haskell

The only new face in the 22 is the uncapped Crane, who is on the bench as Johnson once again goes for a 5-2 split between forwards and backs in the replacements.

Springboks coach Peter de Villiers has suggested his men are nearly running on empty after a gruelling 12 months since ending England's reign as world champions, but Johnson has no doubt they will be fired up for the match.

"I think they will definitely be up for it. They won't have any problems with that. They will want to finish the season off on a high and beat us at Twickenham," he said.

"It's a big thing for opposition teams to come here and win, as you saw with the Australians' reaction when they won on here on Saturday.

"South Africa play with huge intensity, passion and physicality."

England produced a patchy performance last weekend as they slipped to defeat against the Wallabies but Johnson said he saw no reason to worry unduly.


"We are aware of the mistakes we made and have spent this week trying to correct them," he said.

"Last week we were still growing into the way we're playing and it only takes a momentary lapse for things to break down.

"There were plenty of opportunities out there, we just need to see them and then exploit them. There were lots of positives for us."

Last week's game was marred by a series of collapsed scrums and resets, but Johnson expects things to be better on Saturday.

"Every scrummage last week ended up the floor once if not twice. I think we'll see a different game this week and a different contest at scrum time."

South Africa were due to name their team on Tuesday lunchtime but have now delayed it until Thursday because of on-going injury concerns.

England: Armitage; Sackey, Noon, Flutey, Monye; Cipriani, Care; Sheridan, Mears, Vickery, Borthwick (capt), Palmer, Haskell, Rees, Easter.
Replacements: Hartley, Stevens, Shaw, Croft, Crane, Ellis, Flood.

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see also
South Africa postpone naming team
18 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Jeremy Guscott column
17 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
England drop to fifth in rankings
17 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
England 14-28 Australia
15 Nov 08 |  English
International photos
15 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
England 6-15 South Africa
20 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
Cipriani told to improve defence
13 Nov 08 |  English
England 39-13 Pacific Islanders
08 Nov 08 |  English

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