Shields ready for forwards battle against South Africa

Brad Shields is primed for a savage forward battle when England seek to avenge their series defeat to South Africa in June by toppling the Springboks at Twickenham.

Shields will win his third cap on Saturday as part of an inexperienced back row also featuring Tom Curry and Mark Wilson with the trio numbering only 10 Test appearances between them.

South Africa are fielding a giant pack including Malcolm Marx, Duane Vermeulen, Eben Etzebeth and Warren Whitely, pointing to a ferocious forward contest in the opening Quilter International.

“It’s pretty obvious what they are going to bring,” said Shields, who made his England debut against the Springboks in June.

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“A massive thing for South Africans is their emotion and their brutality. They want to be the dominant forward pack. Even some of their big backs want to be that dominant force!

“If we can match that, if not better, at set piece that will go a long way taking away some of their good play.

“South Africa are looking pretty good at the moment. No-one is hiding away from that – they are playing some really good rugby.

England Training and Press Conference – Twickenham Stadium
England’s Owen Farrell will be a key man at Twickenham (Adam Davy/PA)

“But we’re massively confident in our ability. There is no one in our forward pack that is second guessing why they are there.

“We’ve done our work to put ourselves in the best possible position to play our rugby.”

Shields, who qualifies for England though his parents, is still getting to grips with life on these shores after swapping Wellington for Coventry-based Wasps during the summer.

“I think the biggest difference I’ve noticed is the laundry being in the kitchen…the washing machine being there,” he said.

“I’m not used to washing the clothes next to where you do the dishes and cook the food! It’s just a little culturally different.

“I don’t do a lot of the washing at the moment anyway so I don’t have to worry about it.”

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