Beating the boks
England need to unlock the Springboks defence, says Barnes
Last Updated: June 14, 2012 12:36pm
Stuart Barnes says the creativity of Jonathan Joseph could be key if England want to beat South Africa in the second Test.
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" I think Joseph poses that threat and I think he could give England something that they have lacked throughout the 6N and certainly in the first test in Durban.""
Stuart Barnes Quotes of the week
The London Irish centre will make his first start in Johannesburg when he comes in for the injured Brad Barritt - although Manu Tuilagi will shuffle across to inside centre.
The 21-year-old came off the bench for a brief cameo in the 22-17 defeat in Durban - but he will now be given the chance to impress as England look to add a cutting edge to their backline.
And despite his inexperience at this level, Barnes says he is the right choice.
"I don't think he is a gamble at all," he told Sky Sports News.
"If England are going to win this Test match they are not going to defend their way to victory. They have got to find more creativity and they have got to find a way to bust open this Springbok defence.
"Sticking with the same players is setting them up for a brave defeat rather than trying to get an intelligent win. It is a long time since England has had a thirteen with a lovely outside break and a real running threat.
"I think Joseph poses that threat and I think he could give England something that they have lacked throughout the Six Nations and certainly in the first Test in Durban."
Getting over the gain line
Barnes is also happy that Toby Flood has replaced the benched Owen Farrell at fly-half, as he will be able to get the likes of Joseph over the gain line.
"I think Owen Farrell is tiring. He is a 20 year old and he has been in then headlines a long time. He had some fine performances in the Six Nations but thereafter I think his form for Saracens dipped and he played poorly against the Barbarians.
"He played almost by numbers against South Africa, he plays a little too much in the Saracens system where he drops too deep and makes it very hard to get his attackers onto and over the gain line.
"Toby Flood by contrast attacks too much but you can't say he is guilty of not going for it. Long term one wonders if he is the right answer but if we are saying that it is critical that England win then Flood is the right man.
"He will play flatter and with Manu Tuilagi at 12 and Joseph at 13 it will mean that the England centres are getting the ball right on the gain line which is where they will need it."
The second Test will be played at altitude at Ellis Park and Barnes says that England's chances of winning up in Johannesburg are much smaller than they were in Durban.
"One of the greatest teams I have ever seen in my life, New Zealand, played the 1995 World Cup Final at Ellis Park against South Africa. The All Blacks were so good that it was inconceivable that they would lose, but they did.
"Ellis Park is a massive stronghold of South African Rugby. South Africa have also had an extra week of preparation and the benefit of altitude where the kicking game of Morne Steyn becomes even more significant.
"It really makes them stronger favourites this week than it did last week and that is the level of challenge facing England.
"England will need to kick - you can't play against the Springboks from 80 yards away - they have too much physical pressure. At the breakdown England did well and if they can maintain level then that would be good.
"They also need to add a little bit more pressure at the lineout and then the key is what Mike Catt can get out of his backs. Can they find one or two first phase moves to open up South Africa and put the likes of Ashton, Foden and Joseph into situations where they can score tries?
"South Africa are almost certain to score 20 or so points, so to win this match England have to be thinking how do we get 30? Creativity becomes the key. People have always said the defence wins matches but I feel that if England want to win the second Test and level the series then the key is how they attack."