South Africa v England: Uncapped forward Brad Shields on bench for England


South Africa v England, first Test
Date: 9 June Time: 16:05 BST Venue: Ellis Park Stadium
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app

Uncapped Hurricanes forward Brad Shields has been fast-tracked into the England squad for Saturday’s first Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.

New Zealand-born Shields only met up with the squad on Sunday, but will be on the bench for the Ellis Park match.

Lock Joe Launchbury misses out with a calf injury, with Nick Isiekwe making his first Test start in the second row.

Rookie Tom Curry, 19, starts at open-side flanker, while Henry Slade is selected at outside centre.

Owen Farrell will captain the side in the absence of Dylan Hartley, who misses the tour because of concussion.

“Ellis Park is the spiritual homeland of South African rugby and the Springboks play to another level on that ground, so we know we have to raise our game physically early on and be enormously accurate in the way we play,” said England head coach Eddie Jones.

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Shields, who qualifies for England through his parents, will join Wasps later this year at the end of the Super Rugby season.

He was part of the New Zealand Under-20s side that retained the Junior IRB World Championship title in 2011 but has never been capped by the All Blacks.

However, his selection has proved controversial, with World Rugby vice-chairman Gus Pichot the latest to question his switch of allegiance.

He is joined on the bench by number eight Nathan Hughes, which means England are without specialist cover in the second row.

“We have had a really good week in preparation for this weekend and we are pleased with the way the squad has come together,” added Jones.

England team to face South Africa: Elliot Daly; Jonny May, Henry Slade, Owen Farrell, Mike Brown, George Ford, Ben Youngs; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Nick Isiekwe, Chris Robshaw, Tom Curry, Billy Vunipola

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Joe Marler, Harry Williams, Brad Shields, Nathan Hughes, Ben Spencer, Piers Francis, Denny Solomona

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