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Marler aims to channel frustration

Joe Marler has urged England to use the anger caused by Saturday's collapse to New Zealand to fuel their backlash against South Africa.

The 2015 World Cup hosts took a deserved 14-11 lead into the interval of their QBE Series opener only to be comprehensively outplayed in a second half affected by monsoon-like conditions, as the All Blacks ran out 24-21 winners.

Marler was scathing of a performance that resulted in a fifth successive defeat to the All Blacks and has demanded an emphatic response when South Africa visit Twickenham this weekend.

"Our levels of frustration are high and the game review was very honest. I can't really use the words that I'd like to use!" the Harlequins captain said.

"We knew what we had to do in that second half. We spoke about it at half time. And then we came out and did the opposite. Now we expect a reaction from ourselves.

"We'll take the frustration into this weekend. From a personal point of view it's important to use that frustration to spur you on that little bit more."

England have not beaten South Africa in 11 matches dating back to 2006 with their best performance a 14-14 draw in Port Elizabeth two years ago.

Marler made the first of his 23 Test appearances against the Springboks and they left a lasting impression, but the loosehead refuses to be cowed by them or any of the southern hemisphere heavyweights.

"The 2012 tour was a baptism of fire for some of us. Physicality is part and parcel of their culture," Marler said.

"Against every international team you've got to be physical otherwise you're going to get pumped, but South Africa as a nation stand very tall and proud.

"Their DNA is run hard and if that doesn't work then run harder. They pride themselves on that.

"It always takes more than we expect from ourselves to beat the southern hemisphere teams.

"They've set the standard over the years and are continuing to do so, but I'd like to think we've got a squad now who can stand toe-to-toe with them.

"It's about having the belief that we're not just capable of hanging in there, but can ramp it up ourselves at the right time and take them to some darker places."

Head coach Stuart Lancaster insists confidence remains intact despite a run of four consecutive losses, albeit each of them to Richie McCaw's reigning world champions.

Only 11 Tests remain for England to discover the winning formula to toppling the sport's superpowers before the World Cup is launched against Fiji next September.

So far that has proved elusive with Lancaster's record against New Zealand, South Africa and Australia numbering just two wins in 12 Tests with the most recent setback against the All Blacks pointing to a lack of progress being made.

"I don't think self-belief has been dented in that we're going in the wrong direction, but losing has made it important to produce that 100 per cent performance," Lancaster said.

"South Africa will have come to the northern hemisphere confident and rightly so after a good Rugby Championship culminating in beating New Zealand.

"But Ireland played and beat South Africa on Saturday, so there will be a reaction from them."

Lancaster names his 23-man matchday squad on Tuesday evening and is scrutinising the decision makers at scrum-half, fly-half and inside centre carefully in light of the poor game management evident against New Zealand.

While admitting his inclination is to give Danny Care, Owen Farrell and Kyle Eastmond another opportunity, he is open to selecting George Ford at 10 with Farrell moving to 12.

Eastmond is suffering from illness which could force England into making a change, while forwards Courtney Lawes and Dylan Hartley face a Thursday deadline to prove they have recovered from concussion.


From Belfast Telegraph