Defence is the key

Andy Robinson has pinned his faith in recalled Wasps flanker Joe Worsley to halt South Africa's anticipated route-one approach at Twickenham on Saturday. [more]

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Andy Robinson has pinned his faith in recalled Wasps flanker Joe Worsley to halt South Africa’s anticipated route-one approach at Twickenham on Saturday.

Worsley will win his 52nd cap among a reshaped England back row which sees captain Martin Corry at number eight, Pat Sanderson in the number seven shirt and Lewis Moody relegated to replacement duty.

And despite Worsley’s injury-disrupted season for Wasps, head coach Robinson and forwards specialist John Wells were sufficiently impressed by his performance against Bath last weekend to promote him from outside England’s initial 30-man autumn Test squad.

"South Africa are going to come route-one at you, they are very direct and in your face," said Robinson.

"They are a team we have to stop and Joe Worsley has been one of the best defenders in the Guinness Premiership this season. We know the job he can do to stop South Africa’s momentum.

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"The back row (against New Zealand and Argentina) hasn’t worked as well as we would have liked it to work, and we have had to look at that."

While Worsley prepares for his first England appearance since the 43-18 defeat against Australia in Melbourne five months ago, Robinson also offered words of support for 20-year-old Gloucester centre Anthony Allen.

Allen misses out among seven changes from the side beaten 25-18 by Argentina last Saturday – England’s record-equalling seventh successive loss – but Robinson added: "He can hold his head high.

"There are things he has got to improve, we all know that, but I think he has got to take a lot of positives out of the two games. He is going to have a great future with England."

Elsewhere, wing Paul Sackey and prop Perry Freshwater drop out injured, while scrum-half Shaun Perry and lock Danny Grewcock fail to make the starting XV.

Mark Cueto has recovered from an ankle injury to replace Sackey and Andrew Sheridan replaces Freshwater, while there are also call-ups for wing Josh Lewsey, centre Mathew Tait, scrum-half Peter Richards and lock Tom Palmer.

Robinson will also need to make wholesale changes for the second South Africa game on Saturday week under an agreement between and England and Premier Rugby which states no player will start more than three of the four autumn Tests.

After this weekend, eight players will have completed their ration – Hodgson, Corry, Sanderson, Noon, Ben Cohen, George Chuter, Julian White and Ben Kay.

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