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Farrell calls for England fighting spirit against South Africa

Owen Farrell in action for England. Photo credit: Tony Marshall/EMPICS Owen Farrell in action for England. Photo credit: Tony Marshall/EMPICS

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
4:38 PM

Andy Farrell will invoke the spirit of Port Elizabeth as he steels England’s wounded men to meet the ferocious South African challenge at Twickenham on Saturday.

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After being on the receiving end of two brutal defeats on the summer tour, England met the Springbok physicality head-on in the third Test and emerged with a creditable 18-18 draw.

England need to show similar resolve this weekend as they head into their showdown with the Springboks on the back of a disappointing 20-14 defeat to Australia.

“We’ve got to remind the team of Port Elizabeth,” said Farrell, England’s assistant coach.

“In that game we took our defensive game to them and that is how it has got to be this weekend.

“There was a fighting spirit in that game. It shone out massively, you could see our intent to not let South Africa do what they do best, which is batter the gainline door down.

“We did it well that day.”

England were disappointed not to emerge from the Port Elizabeth Test with a win - but the Springboks were angry.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer told the team they had let their country down by not completing a clean sweep of Test victories over an inexperienced England side.

While the Springboks are unlikely to unleash a box of attacking tricks like the Wallabies last week, Farrell would not be surprised if they bring out something new at Twickenham.

“The South Africans were pretty annoyed to draw that game,” Farrell said.

“They realised we were good that day, we got among them and got stuck in and I’m sure they will pick a team to combat that.

“South Africa have a way of playing, they don’t change much and they have some big boys.

“But they will have a few intricacies. You have to expect the unexpected.

“With any top tier team you have to go and put pressure on the opposition. We did that at times against Australia but I thought Kurtley Beale and Berrick Barnes ran the show.

“They were inventive in what they did and you would expect to be broken down once or twice but it was maybe once or twice too many times at the weekend.

“But our endeavour to defend our own line, especially in the first half, was outstanding so we need more of the same there.”

England were due to confirm their 23-man match-day squad to face the Springboks tonight.

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