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Ken Borland

England want to restore positive vibe

Posted on June 13, 2012 by Ken

England assistant coach Simon Hardy said on Tuesday that Wednesday’s match against a “very proud” Southern Barbarians team is about restoring positive vibes in the touring camp after the disappointment of losing the first test to the Springboks last weekend.

England opened their South African tour with a 17-22 defeat against the Springboks in the first test in Durban, and now play an invitation side drawn from second division provinces in Kimberley on Wednesday.

The second test is back in Johannesburg on Saturday.

“We’ve had a loss so now we need to get the momentum back. If we can come away with a good win, then it will get things moving in the right direction again,” Hardy told a news conference in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

“We were disappointed with Saturday and we’ve reflected and had our review, but like all good sides, we know we’re on the path to somewhere. We learn from our disappointments and move on, we don’t encourage the players to dwell on their mistakes. The next game is all about positives.”

The Southern Barbarians have just three players with any SuperRugby experience – the former Lions trio of lock David Bulbring, prop Ross Geldenhuys and hooker Hannes Franklin – but Hardy said he was expecting a fiery encounter.

“It’s very traditional in the sense that all I know about the opposition are their heights, weights, date of birth and the teams they’ve played for, but it will be a physical battle and we need to take it on. I imagine, like most midweek teams, that they will have a lot of pride and will want to go out and get one over us,” Hardy said.

Harlequins lock George Robson will captain England in his first appearance in the senior national team jersey and he echoed Hardy’s desire to consign last weekend’s defeat to distant memory.

“It’s a massive honour, I’m really proud and it’s been really special to get so many messages from home today. But we need to make sure we build on the positives from the first game and improve on what we learnt. It’ll be great to have the test squad watching us, but we need to put on a good performance and get the result,” Robson said.

“We have some great players in key positions and lots of leaders at eight, nine and 10. Chris Robshaw [England’s test captain and Robson’s Harlequins team-mate] came and had a word with me and told me not to change anything, to do the same things and bring what I would normally bring to a game.”

Half-backs Danny Care and Charlie Hodgson, who have 70 test caps between them, will be in charge of directing England’s game plan on Wednesday, while experienced former New Zealander Thomas Waldrom is an imposing presence at eighthman.

Hardy defended the management’s decision that the test squad would travel together with the midweek team to Kimberley, which is a 90-minute flight (453km).

“We’re one squad and the culture in the group is that we are one team. These players have supported the test squad the last two weeks in training … ” Hardy said.


Southern Barbarians – 15-Jacquin Jansen (Boland); 14-Cornal Hendricks (Boland), 13-Kempie Rautenbach (SWD), 12-Wayne Stevens (EP Kings), 11-Norman Nelson (EP Kings); 10-Elgar Watts (Boland), 9-Boela Abrahams (EP Kings); 8-Jacques Engelbrecht (EP Kings), 7-Shaun Raubenheimer (SWD), 6-Mpho Mbiyozo (EP Kings); 5-David Bulbring (EP Kings), 4-Nolan Clark (Boland); 3-Ross Geldenhuys (Boland), 2-Hannes Franklin (EP Kings), 1-Corne Fourie (Pumas). Replacements: 16-Clemen Lewis (Boland), 17-Dean Hopp (SWD), 18-Samora Fihlani (Border), 19-Zandre’ Jordaan (Boland), 20-Ntando Kebe (Border), 21-Ricardo Croy (Boland), 22-Ntabeni Dukisa (Border).

England – 15-Alex Goode, 14-David Strettle, 13-Anthony Allen, 12-Jordan Turner-Hall, 11-Christian Wade, 10-Charlie Hodgson, 9-Danny Care. 8-Thomas Waldrom, 7-Carl Fearns, 6-James Haskell, 5-George Robson, 4-Graham Kitchener, 3-Paul Doran-Jones, 2-Joe Gray, 1-Mutt Mullan. Replacements: 16-Tom Youngs, 17-Rupert Harden, 18-Tom Palmer, 19-Jamie Gibson, 20-Lee Dickson, 21-George Lowe, 22-Nick Abendanon.

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