Richard Cockerill warns team they ‘must survive’ spells against Springboks and gives his take on ‘Bomb Squad’

Richard Cockerill Credit: Alamy

England forwards manager Richard Cockerill has warned his side they must “stay in the game” during their spells at Twickenham when they face the Springboks.

The two rivals will meet again in a rematch of the 2019 Rugby World Cup final on Saturday, with England avenging their defeat at home last year.

That 27-26 win at Twickenham was a typically physical contest and Cockerill has told his troops to expect more of the same from South Africa this weekend.

England ready for the challenge

“The Springboks play in a very different way than most other teams,” he said before the game.

“They don’t vary much. You know what’s coming, they’re coming in the front door and you have to match that.

“We did it last year in the same game, but just right and we have to make sure that whatever happens, when we have periods where we are top or under pressure, we have to survive, stay in the game and make sure we convert our pressure into points. .

“Against New Zealand, even though for the first 70 minutes we were under enormous pressure in parts, we stuck it out and stayed there.

“We need to be very physical and match whatever the Springboks bring and where possible try to get dominance. It will be tough but it is a challenge we have to face.

“We felt a bit offside in parts against New Zealand and there is no greater challenge on that front than the one we are facing in South Africa.”

The selection of the England squad for the match prompted a handful of surprises as Mako Vunipola and Jamie George were favorites from the start along with Kyle Sinckler.

That means Ellis Genge and Luke Cowan-Dickie will come off the bench and likely face the Springboks “bomb squad,” a term Cockerill has offered an opinion on.

“My take on Bomb Squad is that it’s a narrative they love to create. Our three guys on the bench don’t think they are inferior to what they have,” she said.

“When they bring in their front row and when we bring in the finalists in Genge, Luke and Will, we can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and get into it. They know what they have to do.

“When I look at the starting front row and I look at the bench, they are two very, very good front rows.

“He’s a very combative starting three and that energy and aggression off the bench is something I can’t wait to see.”

One win in three so far

England have won just one of their three matches so far this autumn, but while a win would be good, Cockerill believes lessons will be learned in both cases.

“We want to win but it’s not the end of the world if we don’t and we haven’t solved all our problems if we do,” he said.

“It will be a good way to end the year leading up to the Six Nations. Obviously it’s nice to win so you can keep building. We have to keep learning our lessons.

“We learned our lesson against New Zealand and now we need a much improved physical performance, especially from the striker, to make sure we get what we want.”

READ MORE: Autumn Nations Series preview: The physical Springboks will end their year on a high by overcoming struggling England

The article England: Richard Cockerill warns squad that they ‘must survive’ spell against Springboks and gives his opinion on ‘Squad bomb’ first appeared on

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