first_imgEngland rugby union team Show South Africa rugby team Reuse this content England have capped plenty of overseas-reared players over the years but none has had a shorter run-up than Brad Shields, their latest newcomer. If Eddie Jones’s team are half as quick to the breakdown against the Springboks as they have been in fast-tracking the 27-year-old Kiwi into their first-Test squad, their hosts will not have a clue what has hit them in Johannesburg this weekend.That is certainly how Shields must be feeling amid this week’s blur of new faces and unfamiliar kit. As recently as last Friday he was captaining the Hurricanes in Dunedin and, in 2011, played against several of his team‑mates for New Zealand U20s. Following only a couple of days of proper training, however, he has been thrust into Saturday’s huge contest at Ellis Park, after Joe Launchbury’s sore calf forced Jones to ask the bearded forward to provide bench cover at both second-row and flanker.There is no disputing Shields’s right to wear the red rose, courtesy of his English parents, but even he was slightly worried how he would be received by the rest of the squad. Jones described him as “undoubtedly nervous” upon his arrival in South Africa on Sunday but the head coach has been pleasantly surprised by how swiftly he has settled in.“It is difficult when you come to a different team, particularly when you have been playing domestic rugby in another country. But he has fitted in extremely well and everyone knows he is genuine about wanting to play for England. Support The Guardian South Africa prepare for ‘step up’ against England after late loss to Wales Quick guide England team If no one is absolutely sure precisely what gameplan Rassie Erasmus is planning, Jones is absolutely clear in his own mind that England, tactically, need to make some adjustments of their own.Picking Mike Brown on the left wing was not a conspicuous success against the Barbarians last month but Jones believes the game is changing and wants the Harlequin to spend more time buzzing around the breakdown.“I think there’s a real opportunity in rugby, the way it is played at the moment, to have an industrious strong runner around the ruck. If you look at Brownie’s best attributes they are in and around that area, not in open play. He’s a tough no-nonsense player and I think he can become a really valuable winger for us.“To me you have a left full‑back, a central full‑back and a right full‑back and they interchange all the time anyway. I don’t see that as a massive issue at all.”Daly and Slade, similarly, will be asked to use their rugby instincts to find space where, latterly, England have struggled to find any. There is no room, for now, for Danny Cipriani or Alex Lozowski but up front Jones is hoping the youthful promise of the 20-year-old Nick Isiekwe, making his first Test start, and Tom Curry, winning only his second Test cap, can be translated into instant influence. Curry, according to Jones, has been making a big impact at training. “He’s been injured for most of the season so he’s a bit of an unknown, but the general comment from the senior players has been: ‘This kid could be the real thing.’”England must now pray that Shields proves a similar diamond. Read more Brad Shields asks for New Zealand release in order to play for England Was this helpful? news Thank you for your feedback. … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Messenger E Daly (Wasps); J May (Leicester), H Slade (Exeter), O Farrell (Saracens, capt), M Brown (Harlequins); G Ford (Leicester), B Youngs (Leicester); M Vunipola (Saracens), J George (Saracens), K Sinckler (Harlequins), M Itoje (Saracens), N Isiekwe (Saracens), C Robshaw (Harlequins), T Curry (Sale), B Vunipola (Saracens). Replacements: L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), J Marler (Harlequins), H Williams (Exeter), B Shields (Hurricanes/Wasps), N Hughes (Wasps), B Spencer (Saracens), P Francis (Northampton), D Solomona (Sale).  Show Was this helpful? Read more Since you’re here… Rugby union Quick guide South Africa team Share on Facebook Hide “He is a very serious and driven player and is determined to make a fist of playing for England. He understands he gave it his all in New Zealand and they didn’t select him. You don’t want players who carry around baggage, you want players who see opportunity and want to take it.”Not everyone, including World Rugby’s Agustin Pichot, believes that nationality should be so casually traded but England’s fly-half George Ford reckons Shields could prove a very useful acquisition. “He’s come in and honestly he’s been brilliant,” said Ford. “It’s mind-blowing in a way that he’s been able to pick everything up so quickly. He seems to be a no-nonsense guy who works as hard as he can and he’s really physical, so he’ll be a great addition for us.’”Ford was in the English U20 side who encountered a black-clad Shields at the 2011 Junior World Cup but he insists Shields’s subsequent change of loyalties will not pose any problems for squad morale. Given the internationally green Shields still has Super Rugby commitments in New Zealand to fulfil before he completes his summer move to Wasps, however, it will be truly remarkable if the new cap makes the immediate impact England would ideally like.The same could be said for Jones’s whole selection, which has involved him making more tweaks and alterations than a busy tailor. If some appear to have been plucked out of thin air that may just be deliberate with the game taking place at altitude.England have never started with so many long‑range kickers at their disposal with their captain, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly and Henry Slade equipped to send the ball practically into orbit. With another accomplished box-kicker in the uncapped Saracen Ben Spencer on the bench, the Boks could find garryowens raining down on them from all angles.The territory game is certainly one Jones’s team would like to win, with the Springbok starting selection containing a mere 320 caps in total. Under the captaincy of South Africa’s first black Test captain, Siya Kolisi, will be three new caps in the shape of the wingers S’busiso Nkosi and Aphiwe Dyantyi plus the lock forward RG Snyman, although Wasps’ Willie le Roux and Sale’s Faf de Klerk have been included at full‑back and scrum‑half respectively. Share on WhatsApp Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Thank you for your feedback. Topics Share on Pinterest Hide W le Roux (Wasps); S Nkosi (Sharks) L Am (Sharks), D de Allende (Stormers), A Dyantyi (Lions); H Pollard (Bulls), F de Klerk (Sale Sharks); T Mtawarira (Sharks), B Mbonambi (Stormers), T Nyakane (Bulls)/W Louw (Stormers), RG Snyman (Bulls), F Mostert (Lions), S Kolisi captain (Stormers), JL du Preez (Sharks), D Vermeulen (unattached). Replacements: A van der Merwe (Sharks), S Kitshoff (Stormers), W Louw (Stormers)/T du Toit (Sharks), PS du Toit (Stormers), S Notshe (Stormers), I van Zyl (Bulls), E Jantjies (Lions), W Gelant (Bulls). Share via Emaillast_img