- England skipper praises "all-guns-blazing" second-half showing from South Africa
- It is a case of onwards and upwards now and we can learn from the experience – Robshaw
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In the wake of his team’s 22-17 defeat to South Africa in Durban on Saturday afternoon, England captain Chris Robshaw has promised an improved showing in this weekend’s second Test.
Robshaw, who played a full part in the bruising encounter, started by admitting that Stuart Lancaster’s charges found it hard to deal with the Springboks’ relentless start to the second half.
Though the sides went into the break locked at 6-6 after a tense opening 40 minutes, South Africa pulled away with tries from Morne Steyn and captain Jean de Villiers as the second period wore on.
“Right after half-time, they came out all-guns-blazing,” explained Robshaw. “They made it very hard for us to get out of our third and managed to squeeze us. Eventually, their pressure turned into points.
“That is what good sides do – they make you make mistakes. They created space out wide by sucking us in with pick-and-gos and forward runners. By doing that, they managed to dot down twice in the corner.
“Of course we tried to match their physicality, but they were just very good at pinning us down and turning the screw.”
With 21 tackles and four turnovers – the most of any England player on show – Robshaw was a very influential figure at Kings Park despite the loss, excelling in a gutsy defensive effort.
Going on to highlight several areas that the camp could be content with, he seemed hopeful of bouncing back at the soonest possible opportunity.
Photo: Getty Images
"The lineout was great and everyone making their debut [Joe Marler, Tom Johnson and Jonathan Joseph] was outstanding,” continued the 26 year-old Harlequin.
“There were a lot of positives and we will look at the video as soon as possible and put improvements into action on either Monday or Tuesday.
“Of course, we’re here to win this three-match series. It would have been nice to get that first one won but there are still two more to go. It’s a case of onwards and upwards.”
After backing the midweek side to “get a result” against a Southern Barbarians XV in Kimberley on Wednesday evening, Robshaw returned his focus to the second Test, suggesting that the pain of defeat – and the intensity of the international arena – could galvanize England as a squad.
“Every time you put on the jersey, you learn from the experiences you have,” he said. “That might be the score, how your team played or who you were playing against.
“You take all of that in so you can become a better player. We’ll go away now and look for weaknesses [in South Africa’s game] that we can try to exploit next week.”