ENGLAND’S three-Test series against South Africa opens at a venue at where no Red Rose team has won since 1972.
Ellis Park is described by England chief Eddie Jones as the “spiritual home of rugby.”
And he should know, having helped the Springboks to glory as assistant coach at the 2007 World Cup.
Jones, under fire at the end of the Six Nations, is looking to end a four-match losing run on Saturday.
England haven’t beaten South Africa at Ellis Park since 1972
He commented: “It will be hostile but it’s fantastic and I am so excited about it.
“In world rugby who do you want to beat? The Springboks at Ellis Park – it is the spiritual home of rugby.
ENGLAND’S TEST SERIES IN SOUTH AFRICA
June 9: First Test – Ellis Park, Johannesburg
June 16: Second Test – Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
June 23: Third Test – DHL Newlands, Cape Town
“Everyone who knows anything about rugby remembers that 1995 World Cup final and the change that that had for rugby and the country – as well as the value that had for sport in general.
“To get the opportunity to play against the Springboks in the first Test of a three-Test series at Ellis Park is a special occasion for everyone involved.”
England last toured South Africa in 2012 when they only managed to avoid a whitewash by drawing the third and final Test.
But Owen Farrell – captaining the squad in the absence of Dylan Hartley – thinks it could be a different story this time.
He said: “This group has a lot more experience now and we are excited to be here.
“Coming over here, you expect a physical challenge. We have to make sure we are up there with that and we are pretty smart all over the field – and are able to execute at the same time.”
The Springboks were beaten 22-20 by Wales in Washington DC with a weakened side at the weekend.
But captain for the day Pieter-Steph du Toit did play in a game won by Ryan Elias’s late try for Warren Gatland’s side and he’ll play again on Saturday.
Coach Rassie Erasmus says: “It will be a step up we’re ready for. We have to win and so do they.
“It will be one proper series, a hell of a series. We lost the game with Wales which makes it two defeats in a row and Eddie and England have lost four in a row.
“We are all under pressure and, when you lose for your country, the heat comes on you. But we have no excuses not to perform.”
Can I live stream South Africa vs England and where can I watch the match on TV?
The game is live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sport Action at 3.00pm.
You can watch it live with a Sky Sports Day pass from NOW TV, for £7.99.
Alternatively, follow all the action on the SunSport LIVE BLOG.
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What time does the game kick off?
The action gets underway at 4.05pm at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday, June 9.
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Without the injured Ben Te’o and Jonathan Joseph, the temptation will be to start Farrell at 12 for all three Tests and slot others around him.
Jones might stick Farrell at 10 initially, with Cipriani or George Ford coming on for the last half hour. Pairing Alex Lozowski alongside Henry Slade in the centres, with Daly at full-back and Denny Solomona and Jonny May on the wings, would make people sit up and take note.