England coach Stuart Lancaster told his midweek team o Monday that there are test places up for grabs against the Springboks in Port Elizabeth this weekend.
The ‘dirt trackers’ face the Northern Barbarians — a selection of players from the second tier of the Currie Cup domestic competition — at Olen Park in north-west university town Potchefstroom onTuesday.
“We talked today about finishing the tour to South Africa strongly this week and these players have a great opportunity to do this in the second of two midweek matches,” said coach Stuart Lancaster.
“There are still selection decisions to be made for Saturday, but the players’ focus will be on putting in a strong cohesive team performance and building on the positives from last week.”
England lost the first two tests 22-17 in Durban and 36-27 in Johannesburg and must do without injured skipper Chris Robshaw when they try to avoid a whitewash Saturday at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Left wing Ugo Monye makes his first appearance of the three-week tour and is among six changes to the side that overcome the Southern Barbarians 54-26 in Kimberley last Wednesday.
Monye replaces George Lowe, who had to return home at the weekend with left ankle ligament damage, and young flier Christian Wade switches wings to the right.
“Ugo is the only player yet to have any game time and I am delighted that he will have a run out to cap what has been a fantastic club season (at Harlequins) for him,” said Lancaster.
Lee Dickson replaces Danny Care at scrumhalf and Nick Abendanon takes over from Alex Goode at fullback in other backline changes and there are three among the forwards.
Converted centre Tom Youngs gets his first tour start at hooker ahead of Joe Gray, Jamie Gibson comes in on the flank for James Haskell and Ben Morgan at No 8 for Thomas Waldrom.
The latter change suggests Waldrom could replace Morgan, who started the first two tests, in Port Elizabeth after an outstanding two-try showing against the Southern Barbarians.
Karl Dickson and Jonny May, recent call-ups to replace injured scrumhalf Ben Youngs and Lowe, are among the replacements for the game at the home of Currie Cup second division outfit Leopards.
Baa Baas coach Jimmy Stonehouse has selected 11 of his Mpumalanga Pumas team, including outside centre and captain JW Jonker, three from Leopards and one from Northern Free State Griffons.
JC Roos; Danwel Demas, JW Jonker (capt), Joubert Engelbrecht, Deon Scholtz; Coenie van Wyk, Shaun Venter; Nicky Steyn, MB Lusaseni, Jaco Bouwer; Rudi Mathee, Eduan van der Walt; Ashley Buys, Torsten van Jaarsveld, BG Uys
REPLACEMENTS: Pellow van der Westhuizen, Zane Kilian, Boela Serfontein, Martin Sithole, Johann Laker, Hoffman Maritz, Tertius Maarman
Nick Abendanon; Christian Wade, Anthony Allen, Jordan Turner-Hall, Ugo Monye; Charlie Hodgson, Lee Dickson; Ben Morgan, Carl Fearns, Jamie Gibson; George Robson (capt), Graham Kitchener; Paul Doran Jones, Tom Youngs, Matt Mullan
REPLACEMENTS: Joe Gray, Rupert Harden, Mouritz Botha, James Haskell, Karl Dickson, David Strettle, Jonny May
REFEREE: Mark Lawrence (RSA)