England desperate to 'rescue the series'
JUNE SPOTLIGHT: England defence coach Paul Gustard believes that his side can salvage the series against the Springboks if they improve their defence.
England started the series on a high note, racing to a 24-3 lead with less than 20 minutes on the clock in Johannesburg.
However, England’s defence imploded and conceded five tries in the 39-42 defeat – a fourth consecutive Test defeat.
The result handed South Africa a 1-0 lead in the three-Test Series.
“We’re disappointed, we didn’t defend well,” England defence coach Paul Gustard told reporters in Durban.
“We don’t coach that and it’s not what the players want to do. We didn’t deliver what we know we’re capable of – we’ll put that right this weekend.
“After the first 20 minutes, we lost composure and there‘s a knock on effect of things going against you which you can’t quantify perhaps.
“The mental and energy drain of losing momentum and we weren’t able to correct that.
“We played some really good stuff of course in that first and last 20, but the middle 40 was not so good, so there are some real positives.
“No team has gone to Ellis Park and taken apart a team like South Africa which shows the conviction and a real fast start, so we’re pleased with that,”
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England, who at the beginning of the year was labelled as the only team who can challenge the All Blacks’ supremacy, has had a dreadful 2018 thus far.
Their defeat in Johannesburg followed the dismal Six Nations campaign where the side only managed to record two wins from five matches, have made obtaining a series win in South Africa very far-fetch.
Despite their current form, Gustard remains optimistic about England’s chances of levelling the series this weekend in Bloemfontein.
“Absolutely we can rescue the series. We lost by three points and the penalty count was 17 against four, so there were lots of positives.
“I know we conceded five tries and I’m sure there will be questions about that, but they conceded five as well.
“There are still lots of opportunities left and we’re looking forward to putting our best foot forward on Saturday,”