Johnson, Marler to Make England Rugby Debuts in South Africa

Tom Johnson and Joe Marler will make their England rugby team debuts in this weekend’s tour-opening Test against South Africa.

Exeter’s Johnson will replace the injured Tom Croft at flanker for the June 9 match in Durban and Harlequins prop Marler takes over for Alex Corbisiero. Northampton’s Ben Foden will also start at left wing for injured David Strettle and Harlequins’ Mike Brown comes in at fullback.

“Tom and Joe have had great seasons at their clubs and have worked really hard to get this chance, both are in great form and have really impressed in training,” coach Stuart Lancaster said in a statement.

England will play the two-time world champion Springboks in two more Tests, in Johannesburg on June 16 and Port Elizabeth seven days later. It also faces the Barbarians, an invitational line-up, twice as part of its five-game tour.

15 - Mike Brown (Harlequins)
14 - Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints)
13 - Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
12 - Brad Barritt (Saracens)
11 - Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
10 - Owen Farrell (Saracens)
 9 - Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
 1 - Joe Marler (Harlequins)
 2 - Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
 3 - Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
 4 - Mouritz Botha (Saracens)
 5 - Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers)
 6 - Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
 7 - Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, captain)
 8 - Ben Morgan (Scarlets)

16 - Lee Mears (Bath Rugby)
17 - Paul Doran Jones (Northampton Saints)
18 - Tom Palmer (Stade Francais)
19 - Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints)
20 - Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
21 - Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
22 - Jonathan Joseph (London Irish)

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at

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