England need statement of intent

England coach Graham Rowntree during a training session
England coach Graham Rowntree during a training session
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Graham Rowntree has vowed England will confront South Africa with “all guns blazing” at Twickenham today as they seek to atone for a losing start to the QBE Series.

The ambition of issuing a statement of intent against New Zealand ahead of next year’s World Cup was dashed by a 24-21 defeat that saw Stuart Lancaster’s men picked apart in a one-sided second half.

England have not toppled the Springboks in 11 meetings dating back to 2006 and a loss today would represent their worst sequence of results for eight years.

“We’ve got to beat these big southern hemisphere teams at Twickenham. South Africa are the next to come to our stadium.

“We’ve got to beat them, we know that, and we’ll go in all guns blazing to do that,” Rowntree said. “We can’t hide from the fact that we lost the last four games, albeit against the world champions.”

Match preview: Page 7.