Toby Flood: It's going to be tough but if we can beat the Boks it will have been a great autumn

We have to win the physical battle against South Africa. If we don't, it will be a long day

The visit of the reigning world champions to Twickenham tomorrow for the last of the autumn Investec internationals is a hugely important game for us as an England squad. It's important that we end with a victory against what is sure to be a very dangerous South African side.

That is the challenge for us. I know the Springboks have won six in a row against us and triumphed 42-6, a record score, when they were at Twickenham in 2008, but we don't see it as anything to do with settling scores. It's vital for us that we finish the series well and to do that we will have to win the physical battle against them. If we don't manage to do that and they take control, it will be a very tough afternoon for us.

You always have to be wary when the Springboks are wounded. Their loss against Scotland last Saturday will have hurt them and whenever they have their backs against the wall they're dangerous. It's massively important for us to react to that, because if we let them get started you can be sure that they'll hurt us.

We have made four changes to the team that beat Samoa 26-13 last week, just one in the backs. Mike Tindall comes back in at outside centre. It's great for us to have the kind of experience that Mike brings to the party because we've got a lot of young guys around. He makes good decisions. That's why he's won 65 caps. He makes the right decisions at the right time. And that's hugely important for us.

It's bizarre to think that another old head in our back division, Mark Cueto, has gone so long without scoring an international try. The thing is he has been playing so well, creating for everybody else, which is good. I think he would have scored last weekend had Danny Care passed the ball to his outside when he sent Tom Croft over.

He's due one but I'm sure it's only a matter of time. Mark gets a bit of stick here and there in the changing room but that's mainly because he's over 30. He'll get on the end of something soon – hopefully this weekend.

I thought we did some good stuff at times as a team against Samoa last week but it wasn't quite where we wanted to be. Our standards were a little bit down. It's always hard to take on the Samoans. They're a very tough, very physical side to break down.

We were a little bit behind, a little bit slower than we should have been. Having said that, I thought we reacted to that situation quite well. We kind of ground out points and opportunities. We got the job done. The scoreline could have been slightly more flattering in the end but to be honest I think that's what it would have been: flattering. I think it probably told the truth – in that we were slightly off the ball and didn't take our opportunities as well as we should have.

The Test arena is a tough one. I'm sure South Africa will have gone up to Murrayfield last week expecting to do better than they did, especially given Scotland's result the week before against New Zealand. All credit to Scotland, and to Andy Robinson, their head coach.

It was Andy who gave me my first chance for England, off the bench against Argentina four years ago. That feels like a long time ago. I came off the bench, gave away an interception try with my first touch, and we ended up losing the game.

I've always felt bad about that. It was a brutal introduction to Test rugby but it was massively important for me as a learning curve. I didn't think things could get any worse. I was pretty surprised still to be involved the following week. I thought I deserved the chop at the time.

I'm pleased to see that Andy's gone on to do tremendously well for Scotland. They're playing to their strengths and steadily climbing the world rankings.

Next time pick on someone your own size, Ben

My Leicester Tigers half-back colleague Ben Youngs has come a long way in his six-cap international career but I think it's fair to say that he still has a fair bit to learn. Such as who to push and who not to push!

It's always great to have a scrum-half with a little fire in his belly. But pushing George Stowers, the big Samoan Number 8, as Ben did during last week's game...

Ben tried to claim that he got him front on but we're not so sure! The trouble for my team-mate is that he plays in the Aviva Premiership – and so does Stowers with London Irish.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor