Mike Catt backing England to prove mettle in South Africa
England's new coach Mike Catt is backing the Red Rose's youngsters to cope with a difficult South Africa tour this summer
New England coach Mike Catt is backing the Red Rose’s youngsters to cope with the hostile southern hemisphere atmosphere on their tour of South Africa.
Catt accepted the role with Stuart Lancaster’s England side after New Zealander Wayne Smith turned it down, citing personal reasons.
And Catt’s first job will be to prepare the squad for the June tour of South Africa, Lancaster’s young side looking to build on a promising start that saw them finish second in this year’s Six Nations.
Catt has tasted victory in the southern hemisphere before having helped Sir Clive Woodward’s team overcome the Springboks in Bloemfontein three years before going on to lift the World Cup trophy in Australia.
And he is convinced the class of 2012 has what it takes to survive their South Africa test.
“If you go down into the southern hemisphere and beat them in their own back yard it definitely gives you that mental edge on things,” Catt said.
“It’s very hostile and is a huge challenge for these young guys who have never been there. From what we’ve seen in the Six Nations, I think this young England team can go down and hold their own.
“The advantage we had in 2000 is that we had been together for three years as an England side whereas this England side has only been together for six or seven months.
“It’s going to be a huge ask but I think the players are going to embrace it and the coaches are going to embrace it and we’re going to give it our all.”
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