England are determined to answer those who criticised their performance at scrum time against Australia when they meet the Springboks at Twickenham on Saturday.
England hooker Lee Mears acknowledged their shortcomings at scrums, where they were expected to dominate, but committed to remedying their flaws in that facet of play.
“[Australia] got the better of us, so we deserved the stick,” he said. “It was disappointing, but South Africa will pose a different problem. We know we’re going to have to step it up.
“The Springboks love to scrum: they take it as a pushing contest, and that’s exactly what we expect,” said Mears.
“South Africa love their props and hookers, whereas in England a lot of the time we love our golden boy sexy fly-halves… But I’m quite happy for them to get the plaudits as it usually means we’ve done our jobs properly.”
The Springboks have delayed naming their side until Thursday to establish the fitness of some key players. The likelihood, however, is that they will field a run-on side that features captain John Smit back at his accustomed position of hooker.
Mears said that Smit’s shift from tighthead prop wouldn’t have an adverse effect on the Springbok front row.
“If John Smit comes back to hooker he’s a World Cup-winning captain so it’s hardly weakening them in that regard,” he said.