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Croft ready to face Boks battering

Tom Croft was left "battered" by South Africa during the epic British and Irish Lions tour of 2009 - but he is ready to go there again for England on Saturday.

The Leicester flanker has never experienced anything more physically intense than the second Test in Pretoria, which ended with five Lions being taken to hospital. Lions doctor James Robson described the game, which the Springboks snatched 28-25 with a last-gasp penalty from Morne Steyn, as "brutal".

"That second Test was the most physical I have played, one of the biggest games I have played. At the end of it I was absolutely battered," recalled Croft.

"It is all very well talking about South Africa's physicality but England are a physical team as well and we won't just try to absorb them and match them.

"You have got to surpass it. We will try to take them out in that area of the game.

"You can't sit back. We did that against New Zealand and at the start of each half against Samoa. One thing we have learned from this series is that you have to go from minute one - like we did against Australia.

"If you sit back against this team, who are the world champions, they will take the points and it will be very hard to come back from.

"England are a team that want to go forward. We don't want to take backwards steps. We are difficult to team to beat and we have every confidence in ourselves."

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