Ben Foden has warned England they can’t afford to be ‘too lethargic’ when they take on South Africa in the second Test this Saturday.
The Saints star scored a late try in the first meeting between the two sides last weekend, but it wasn’t enough as the Red Rose lost 22-17 in Durban.
They now move on to Johannesburg knowing another defeat would see them lose the series and stand on the brink of a whitewash.
Foden knows exactly where his side need to improve if they are to get a win on the board this weekend, but he believes they should be full of confidence ahead of the second showdown.
“We knew we’d have to be more physical at the breakdown [in the second half] and slow them down but at the same time play to our strengths,” said the 26-year-old.
“I think we sat back and saw what they could throw at us and they scored two tries from us sitting back and being too lethargic.
“We’ve got a lot to work on but we’ll also take a lot of confidence because we’ve got areas to improve and know we can break them down.”
England were severely lacking in international experience in comparison to South Africa – with 187 caps in the visiting starting 15 against 458 in the home side.
But the five-point defeat was the closest they have run the Springboks in the last eight meetings between the sides and Foden believes a big scalp is on the cards on Saturday.
“It’s new experience for a lot of guys in this squad, coming to the southern hemisphere and playing this intensity of rugby, especially away from home is a big ask,” he said.
“But we’re England at the end of the day, we’re going places and aiming for big things, so the next big step for us is to take a scalp out here.
“Hopefully we can do that in the next game and it will really heat up for the final Test.”
Meanwhile, Saints prop Paul Doran-Jones will start for England in their tour game against South Africa Southern Barbarians tomorrow.
Doran-Jones is one of a raft of changes from the side which faced South Africa in the first Test, with none of the players who started that game selected for the midweek encounter.
Saints scrum-half Lee Dickson will be hoping to get some game time from the bench against the Southern Barbarians, while Phil Dowson, Dylan Hartley and Foden are rested.