England opt for two squads for South African tour
January 29, 2000
English rugby union bosses have opted to effectively take two squads on tour to South Africa this summer, it was announced here Friday.
The five-match itinerary includes Test matches against South Africa in Pretoria and Bloemfontein.
England coach Clive Woodward intends taking around 40 players, but his senior personnel will only take part in the Tests on June 17 and 24.
The three midweek matches - against North West Districts, Griqualand West and Gauteng Falcons - provides an opportunity for what Woodward terms "young and developing players".
England kick-off the tour against North West Districts on June 14, winding up a fortnight later by tackling the Falcons in Brakpan.
"We are pleased with the schedule that has been agreed," Woodward said.
"The squad will include a large number of young players who will take part in the provincial games against equitable opposition. The senior players will only take part in the two Test matches.
"The tour provides the young and developing players with an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience at international level.
"I am delighted that we've reached an agreement and a balance to the tour which meets the objectives of both unions."
South Africa, England's World Cup quarter-final conquerors, will use the Tests as preparation for this year's Tri-Nations series.
The Springboks have only lost once against England on home soil since 1972, a stunning defeat in Pretoria six years ago against the Rob Andrew-inspired tourists.