Steve Borthwick says England ready for Springboks challenge
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Last Updated: 08/06/18 5:43pm
Steve Borthwick says England are prepared for South Africa's trademark physicality in Johannesburg on Saturday.
England start a three-Test series at Ellis Park as Eddie Jones' side aim to stop the rot following four successive defeats.
"Clearly there are some things that are fundamental to South African rugby and one of those is their physical nature," said England forwards coach Borthwick.
"We know they're a very good side and we know some of their players very well with Faf de Klerk and Willie le Roux playing in the Premiership.
"Our disappointment in the Six Nations taught us some lessons and forced us to make some changes. We want to win every game."
Uncapped Hurricanes forward Brad Shields has been fast-tracked into the England squad and will be on the bench.
New Zealand-born Shields only met up with the squad on Sunday, but Borthwick is confident the 27-year-old flanker can cover the second row against South Africa.
"He's played there before and is a good player," Borthwick said.
"We've been in contact over the last period of time, while clearly respectful he's been busy playing for his team in Super Rugby.
"He has come in this week and been exceptional in terms of his diligence and attitude to learn."
Mako Vunipola wins his 50th England cap on Saturday and his former Saracens team-mate Borthwick says the loosehead prop is driving standards in training.
"He's a world-class player and we're blessed to have some real strength in depth in that position with Joe Marler and Ellis Genge," said Borthwick.
"To win 50 caps is a brilliant achievement and the commitment he gives every time he goes on the field; when he leaves the pitch you know he has given his all.
"Some of the stats he has produced where he is carrying the ball 15 times, making 18 tackles, clearing 20 rucks, and doing the scrum, lineout and maul on top of that - he's a world-class player but he's one who is trying to improve and get better.
"You see the attitude he brings to training every single day, driving us to be better."