Mike Catt: Springboks always a massively physical encounter

England attacking skills coach believes South Africa will be gunning for a win after disappointing defeat to Ireland last week

By Gareth Llewellyn

Mike Catt expects a strong reaction from South Africa after their 29-15 defeat by Ireland when they run out to face England at Twickenham on Saturday.

The Springboks were disappointing as they went down in Dublin, despite coming into the match off the back of a rare win over world champions New Zealand in the final round of the Rugby Championship last month.

The beauty about the South African side is they have the ability to do all of it

Mike Catt

The Port Elizabeth-born England attacking skills coach, who won 75 caps for the Red Rose between 1994 and 2007, expects a physical encounter against Heyneke Meyer’s side.

“The bounce back from South Africa is always huge,” Catt said. “It is always a massively physical encounter.

“It will be interesting to see if they carry on playing with the width they have been, and they beat the All Blacks with, or whether they revert to route one and their kicking game.

“The beauty about the South African side is they have the ability to do all of it. When they come to Twickenham, they will see this as the main scalp they need to take.”

Like South Africa, England also tasted defeat in their first QBE International, as the All Blacks came away from a rain-soaked Twickenham with a 24-21 victory, their fifth in a row against England.

Catt admits the England coaching staff were left disappointed with parts of England’s performance, but believes they can fix that this week despite having never beaten the Spingboks since Stuart Lancaster took charge in 2012.

“We went away from the way we have played at the weekend and we have put that on the players,” Catt added.

“The players understand where they are and who they are coming up against. We need to impose ourselves in terms of our physicality and our intelligence in the game as well.”

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