In the buildup to Saturday’s Test against the Springboks, Tom Curry said England must learn from the British & Irish Lions’ grave error of trying to fight fire with fire against the South Africans.
England will welcome the Springboks to Twickenham on Saturday, with Jacques Nienaber’s team aiming for three-from-three wins on tour after beating Wales in Cardiff and Scotland in Edinburgh.
Eddie Jones has already pointed out the importance of taking a pragmatic approach against the Boks, labelling the South African pack as “a George Foreman who can whack and whack and whack and whack”.
A similar approach was taken by Warren Gatland’s Lions in the series against South Africa in July and August, but the Springboks were still able to clinch a 2-1 series victory.
Curry, who started all three Tests for the Lions and the 2019 World Cup final, says England need to find a way of taking on the Springboks that does not involve getting into a kicking battle.
“The Lions tour taught that you don’t play them at their own game – which is a lot of kicks and slowing the game down,” Curry said.
“You probably shoot yourselves in the foot if you get in that cycle with them because that’s what they want. We have to make sure we are clear about what we want to do.
“It’s relatively clear having seen them recently how they want to play. We’ve just got to make sure we’re confident in how we’re going to go against that.
“South Africa pride themselves on physicality but, at the same time, there’s not loads to hit when the ball is in the air.
“It’s about getting that balance right, making sure we’re clear on our gameplan and how we want to get it done.
“They wouldn’t be where they are if they weren’t good at what they do, but it’s going to be really exciting and we’re ready for the challenge.”
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