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Rowntree: England must deliver

Graham Rowntree delivered a passionate call to arms ahead of England's showdown with South Africa at Twickenham and vowed: "We are out to put a few things right".

England have not beaten the Springboks in 10 Tests dating back to the autumn of 2006. Rowntree felt England should have beaten Australia last week and they might also have defeated the Springboks in the third Test of the summer tour, which ended in a 14-14 draw in Port Elizabeth.

"We are still hurting from last week. We lost and we are not happy about it. It was a game we should have won," said Rowntree, England's forwards coach. "That last game in Port Elizabeth was also a game we should have won."

Rowntree added: "We had lost two Tests on that tour. In that last hour before the game in Port Elizabeth we decided that wasn't going to happen again. And we have to recreate that atmosphere tomorrow, that pure desire for it not to be a defeat again."

England's win against Fiji on the opening weekend of the QBE autumn internationals was their only victory in five Tests since the end of the RBS 6 Nations championship.

England were outplayed by an Australia side that were too smart and too savvy, but the South African challenge will be different. The Springbok game is based on ferocious forward power, with Ruan Pienaar and Patrick Lambie pulling the strings in behind.

The challenge for England is dealing with it. They failed in the first two Tests of the summer tour but Port Elizabeth is their reference point, where England ratcheted up the ferocity in that final Test and went toe-to-toe with the Springboks to end a run of nine straight defeats in the fixture.

"The mentality we achieved in the hour before the game got us in the right place," Lancaster recalled. "You have to make sure you are not so revved up that that you are a bull in a china shop and can't think clearly. We've got to hit the balance between being on the edge, absolutely on the edge, but also having clarity of mind."

Rowntree's fighting talk continued the theme set earlier in the week by Tom Wood, who returns to the England team as one of six changes from the 20-14 defeat to Australia. Wood, Alex Corbisiero, Joe Launchbury and Ben Morgan have been charged with bringing steel to an England pack that was second best to the Wallabies for an hour.

The forecast is for wind and rain at Twickenham, which gives further credence to the selection of Mike Brown on the wing as England reprise the summer tour tactic of using two full-backs.


From Belfast Telegraph