Johannesburg (AFP) – England hooker Jamie George has told his team-mates to be “brutally honest” ahead of a must-win Test in South Africa Saturday if they hope to score a first Test series triumph there.
The 27-year-old said individual errors led to the ill discipline that saw England lose a first Test thriller 42-39 in Johannesburg last weekend after building a 21-point lead.
There are two Tests remaining, in Bloemfontein this Saturday and in Cape Town next weekend, and England must win both to create history after five previous failed attempts.
The last time the countries clashed in Bloemfontein, the Springboks crushed the Red Rose 58-10 in 2007.
“We let the Springboks back into the first Test because of ill discipline, which is so frustrating,” George said in Indian Ocean port city Durban, where England are based.
“There were a lot of individual errors that led to the ill discipline, so first we have got to be honest with ourselves.
“We must be brutally honest at times and hopefully that will lead to the coaches not having to say too much.
“The first 20 minutes saw some of the best rugby we have played and then we let South Africa back into the game. Hopefully, we can build on why we were so good at the start.”
“We were nearly very, very good, so I hope we can string a few things together and give an 80-minute performance.”
In central city Bloemfontein, South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus said England boss Eddie Jones would have “a few tricks up his sleeve” for the Free State Stadium showdown.
“We know Eddie has a sharp mind and will surely have a few tricks up his sleeve for the second Test.
“I realise we are up against a very good team, a very physical team, so it is going to be a challenge for us, but one I feel we are ready for.”
Erasmus expects fly-half Handre Pollard, who sustained a first-Test shoulder injury, to be fit for Saturday.
“The shoulder is okay and Handre will train with the squad from today,” said the coach.
Erasmus succeeded sacked Allister Coetzee this year after South Africa lost 12 of 25 Tests in the past two seasons and twice conceded 57 points against world champions New Zealand.
The Springboks also suffered maiden losses at home to Ireland and away to Italy and Argentina and did not beat any team ranked higher than them.