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Page last updated at 18:42 GMT, Friday, 26 November 2010

Captain Lewis Moody eyes further England momentum

AUTUMN INTERNATIONAL: ENGLAND v SOUTH AFRICA
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 27 November 2010 Kick-off: 1430 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC 5 live & online; Highlights on BBC TV (Saturday, 1900-2000 GMT, BBC Three/BBC Sport website; Sunday, 1130-1230 GMT on BBC Two/BBC Sport website); Also live on Sky Sports 1

Lewis Moody
Moody did not play when England lost the 2007 World Cup final to South Africa

Captain Lewis Moody has insisted it is paramount for England to keep on improving in every match ahead of their Twickenham clash against South Africa.

England could be ranked the second best team in the world, a position they have not occupied since 2004, if they defeat the world champions on Saturday.

But Moody's only concern is seeing more development in an evolving team which crushed Australia just two weeks ago.

"The most important thing is to keep building momentum," he said.

Along with their record-equalling 35-18 victory over Australia, Martin Johnson's team earned a hard-fought win over Samoa last weekend and competed to the end of a respectable loss to the top-ranked side New Zealand in the first of their autumn internationals.

"The more wins against tougher opposition the better," added Moody, who returns to the side after sitting out the Samoa match.

"It does help as you prepare for those big competitions. You take a great deal of confidence from them.

We have an exciting team. But we are nowhere near where we can be. We are still building. We have done nothing yet

England manager Martin Johnson

"This is still a young and evolving team so there are no comparisons with the 2003 [World Cup-winning] side, but we are in a good place.

"As a squad we are happy with how things are going and, as captain, I am enjoying my part in it.

"We have to make sure we take that into the game tomorrow, build on that into the [next] Six Nations and keep constantly improving towards the 2011 World Cup [in New Zealand]."

England team manager Johnson has made four changes as he reverts to the starting XV that beat Australia, with Moody back at open-side, Mike Tindall returning at centre for Matt Banahan, while Tom Croft is back at blind-side and Dan Cole comes in at tight-head prop.

They face a Springboks side under growing pressure after last weekend's shock 21-17 defeat to Scotland, but one that is likely to pose a physical challenge unlike any other in the rugby world.

Tom Croft of England

England show four changes from the 26-13 Samoa victory (highlights above)

"It will be very physical, intense and a great Test match," said Johnson about the challenge of a team who England have not beaten in their last six meetings.

"I have tried not to talk too much this week because I get too excited. This is what you play for - there will be 80,000 at Twickenham and we are up against a good South Africa team.

"We are desperate to play as well as we can.

"We want the England team to be a successful team that people can be proud of and we are on the right track.

"We have an exciting team and I am not playing that down. This team is on an upwards curve and everything goes into Saturday.

"But we are nowhere near where we can be. The whole thing has only come together this calendar year. We are still building.

"We have done nothing yet."

606: DEBATE
justin playfair

Moody also warned against complacency - and insisted England must keep their discipline in order to avoid conceding penalties and being punished by Morne Steyn, one of the best goal-kickers in the game.

"The South Africans are huge individuals and having lost against Scotland they will be even more fired up than ever before," he said.

"They play some extremely physical rugby and it will be a very tough challenge. It is crucial in those situations that we keep our cool."


FULL TEAM LINE-UPS FOR TWICKENHAM:

England: Ben Foden; Chris Ashton, Mike Tindall, Shontayne Hape, Mark Cueto; Toby Flood, Ben Youngs; Andrew Sheridan, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes, Tom Palmer, Tom Croft, Lewis Moody (captain), Nick Easter.

Replacements: Steve Thompson, David Wilson, Simon Shaw, Hendre Fourie, Danny Care, Charlie Hodgson, Matt Banahan.

South Africa: Zane Kirchner, Gio Aplon, Frans Steyn, Jean de Villiers, Lwazi Mvovo; Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar; Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield (captain), Deon Stegmann, Juan Smith, Pierre Spies.

Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, CJ van der Linde, Flip van der Merwe, Willem Alberts, Francois Hougard, Patrick Lambie, Adi Jacobs.



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see also
England 11-21 South Africa
27 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
England recall quartet to face SA
25 Nov 10 |  English
Croft warns of 'rampaging' Boks
23 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Springboks change two for England
23 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
England 26-13 Samoa
20 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
England 35-18 Australia
13 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 21-17 South Africa
20 Nov 10 |  Scottish
South Africa pair fail drug tests
15 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Habana out of South Africa tour
16 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Wales 25-29 South Africa
13 Nov 10 |  Welsh
England 16-26 New Zealand
06 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 21-23 South Africa
06 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union


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