Rowntree: We mean business
Graham Rowntree has vowed England will confront South Africa with "all guns blazing" at Twickenham on Saturday as they seek to atone for a losing start to the QBE Series.
The ambition of issuing a statement of intent against New Zealand ahead of next year's World Cup was dashed by a 24-21 defeat that saw Stuart Lancaster's men picked apart in a one-sided second half.
England have not toppled the Springboks in 11 meetings dating back to 2006 and a loss this weekend would represent their worst sequence of results for eight years.
"We've got to beat these big southern hemisphere teams at Twickenham. South Africa are the next to come to our stadium. We've got to beat them, we know that, and we'll go in all guns blazing to do that," Rowntree said.
"We can't hide from the fact that we lost the last four games, albeit against the world champion. There's been no hiding place since the New Zealand game - we had some very frank discussions."
England's South African-born attacking skills coach Mike Catt described the Springboks as the "big green machine" and it is a view shared by Rowntree, who faced them three times as a player.
"They're a very abrasive outfit. They'll always be up there as one of the best packs. Physically and genetically they're big men. They play a very powerful brand of rugby," Rowntree said.
"Their pack will always be there or thereabouts. They're certainly one of the heaviest. You know when you've played them because the players will be sore for a few days after the game.
"They're technically very well drilled and have a lot of experience. They like to use line-outs for drives and their scrum is a big focal point of their physicality.
"You'll see how they bind on to each other before they receive the ball, then they like to run through as a band of players. They like to impose themselves on the opposition as early as they can."
Head coach Heyneke Meyer is trying to make South Africa a more expansive team and the tourists have had their own wounds to lick after following up an impressive victory over New Zealand with last weekend's 29-15 defeat by Ireland in Dublin.
Rowntree, however, expects England to face the traditional route one approach in the second of their four Tests this autumn.
"Potentially they could play in a different way to what we'd expect, but in patches against Ireland they reverted to type. They scored a try from a driving maul and their scrum was very strong," Rowntree said.
"They have a good variety in the squad to back up any style of play, but I'm expecting a power game against us."
England have been honest in appraising their shortcomings against New Zealand, highlighting their poor game management for their inability to triumph having led 14-11 at half-time.
In a show of faith Lancaster has retained the players who under performed against the All Blacks, making just one injury-enforced change to the starting XV with Anthony Watson given his full debut on the right wing as a replacement for Semesa Rokoduguni, who has a thigh complaint.
It will be a new-look side that takes to the field against Samoa next Saturday, before Lancaster reverts to his strongest line-up for the concluding international against Australia.
"It will be a huge challenge against South Africa, but we need this challenge after last week," Rowntree said.