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Ben Youngs expects South Africa to revert to type at Twickenham

Published 07/11/2016

Ben Youngs believes South Africa will revert to type against England
Ben Youngs believes South Africa will revert to type against England

England scrum-half Ben Youngs expects South Africa to revert to type at Twickenham on Saturday by attempting to "beat us up".

The Springboks have not lost to England in 12 matches dating back to 2006 but have entered a troubled phase in their proud history notable for a run of five defeats in nine Tests, constituting their worst season for a decade.

Head coach Allister Coetzee has attempted to broaden their playing style away from the brutish route one approach that has been the bedrock of South Africa rugby, but - having lost on all five of his appearances against this weekend's opponents - Youngs believes they will adopt a muscular approach.

"Everyone knows the biggest thing they bring is physicality so the physicality element of the game is going to be key," Youngs said.

"They have added to their game with four-man and three-man line-outs, they've mixed it up a bit, but I think they'll go back to tradition and try to beat us up to a degree.

"But the boys are really focused on that. They're big guys and we need to get them down early. We've worked hard on our tackle technique and physically trying to win the gain line.

"Whenever I have played them I have never felt that we have been outclassed, more physically beaten up.

"In the games that we lost we got beaten up and they got the gain line easily and put us under pressure.

"I've never come off the field feeling there has been a massive gap, just that we haven't been able to match them physically."

Melbourne Storm defensive coach Jason Ryles, a former Australia rugby league international, has been added to England's coaching team on a temporary basis to assist preparations for South Africa.

"We naturally want to make two-man hits anyway, but Jason has come in to make sure we're physical enough in that area. We have focused on trying to hit and stick," Youngs said.

"It's not too different to what we have done previously, but with the ball-carrying threat they have we don't want to get into a one-on-one wrestling match, we want to be able to try to two-man tackle guys which will ultimately slow down the ball.

"We will be looking to get off the line pretty hard and try to put them under pressure.

"They are big physical guys and their nature is to come round the corner and be direct so with that we want to dominate that gain line by helping each other out and making it a two-man focus."

To help prepare for the early onslaught expected from South Africa, England will conduct a ferocious training session on Tuesday.

"The way we train here is intense, how it should be. It's completely different to how it is at clubs and it's what you'd expect when you come to an international set-up," Youngs said.

"Tuesday will be ramped up. It will be at match intensity if not above it, trying to make sure we our getting everything out of training.

"We want to be training at a big intensity which allows us to hit the ground running in terms of a fast start."

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