- Ben Foden pinpoints two main areas for England to improve for 2nd Test
- “We’re England, we’re going places and want southern hemisphere scalp” – Foden
Ben Foden says England will approach the second Test with confidence but believes they need to start playing the game in the rights areas of the field to make an impact on South Africa in the three-Test series.
The Springboks secured a 22-17 victory with two tries in 12 second-half minutes from fly half Morne Steyn – who ended with 17 points – and captain Jean de Villiers as they dominated territory and possession after the break in Durban.
The Northampton Saints man, who finished classily for England’s consolation try after the hooter had sounded for his seventh international try, said an inability to get of their own half in the third quarter made the difference.
Speaking from the Kings Park tunnel in the immediate aftermath of the game, he said: “Looking back on the game we’ve got a lot of areas we need to work on.
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“Getting out of our half was a problem area for us and credit to South Africa, they worked the lineout very well, stuck to what they’re good at and have been good at for years.
“Playing from our own half was difficult, especially from the kick offs. We were kicking the ball off on their 10m line, which they loved and used to their advantage very well. They could set up phases and knew who would carry off second and third phases. They got behind us and then you’re always struggling as a defensive line.
England showed what they could do with front foot ball in dangerous areas, running a number of phases across the pitch to create the space for Foden to score in the right hand corner with the last play of the game.
But two late Steyn penalties had put the game out of reach by then and Foden thinks England paid too much respect to South Africa at the breakdown at the start of the second half, crucially allowing the hosts to gain the ascendency.
The 26-year-old said: “We knew we’d have to be more physical at the breakdown [in the second half] and slow them down but at the same time play to our strengths. I think we sat back and saw what they could throw at us and they scored two tries from us sitting back and being too lethargic.
“We’ve got a lot to work on but we’ll also take a lot of confidence because we’ve got areas to improve and know we can break them down.”
Photo: Getty Images
England gave away much in international experience to South Africa – with 187 caps in the starting XV against 458 – and the five point defeat was the closest they have run South Africa in the last eight meetings.
But for Foden, that is insignificant in relation to the need to win Test matches. He says Lancaster’s new team have grand ambitions and are aiming to add a victory in the southern hemisphere to their CV by the end of the tour.
“It’s new experience for a lot of guys in this squad, coming to the southern hemisphere and playing this intensity of rugby, especially away from home is a big ask.
“But we’re England at the end of the day, we’re going places and aiming for big things, so the next big step for us is to take a scalp out here.
“Hopefully we can do that in the next game and it will really heat up for the final Test.”