Beating South Africa 'huge' for England - Chris Robshaw

By Chris JonesBBC Radio 5 live
Chris Robshaw with his England team
England conceded three tries against New Zealand
Autumn international - England v South Africa
Date: Saturday, 15 November; Time: 14:30 GMT; Venue: Twickenham; Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and full live text commentary online. Highlights on BBC Three at 19:00 GMT.

England captain Chris Robshaw says victory over South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday would be a "huge stepping-stone" for his side.

The Springboks remain the only major rugby union nation Stuart Lancaster has not beaten in his time in charge, with the best result a 14-14 draw in Port Elizabeth in 2012.

"[A win] will be huge for this group," Robshaw told BBC Radio 5 live.

"We've never beaten them, so I think it will be a huge stepping-stone for us."

England v South Africa in England
Eng winsSA winsDrawsEng pointsSA points

England have a poor recent record overall against South Africa, without a win in eight years, and Robshaw says after Saturday's deflating 24-21 loss to New Zealand, the game this weekend takes on added significance.

"I think it does," he said.

"You never like to lose, and with both sides losing last weekend, I'm sure the intensity and physicality will be right up there this weekend.

"We'll learn our lessons and hopefully be more efficient and effective on the weekend."

England led the All Blacks 14-11 at half-time before fading after the break, and with just 10 months remaining until the start of the World Cup, Robshaw accepts that the tournament's hosts have to start delivering results against the best teams in the world.

"They are all must-win games at this international level," he said.

"We need to really impose ourselves, being at home, and we have a chance to do it [on Saturday]."

Recent England v South Africa matches
England 15-16 South Africa, Twickenham, November 2012
South Africa 14-14 England, Port Elizabeth, June 2012
South Africa 36-27 England, Johannesburg, June 2012
South Africa 22-17 England, Durban, June 2012
England 11-21 South Africa, Twickenham, November 2010

England will make at least one change when the team is confirmed on Thursday morning, with Bath's Anthony Watson in line to make his first start on the wing in place of the injured Semesa Rokoduguni.

Watson's opposite man on Saturday will be Bryan Habana and the Springbok great says he has been warned about the 20-year-old's ability by Bath's South African flanker, Francois Louw.

"I've seen a bit of Anthony, and having a team-mate that plays for Bath does help," Habana said.

"He's an exciting youngster. He's really put his hand up, not only this season but last season as well. I came on to the scene 10 years ago at Twickenham, also as an unknown factor, and was able to score a try in a losing cause. So, it's going to be a new challenge for us this weekend."

Although Lancaster is keen to give the bulk of his side the chance to make amends, there could yet be an alteration in the back row, with James Haskell ready to replace Tom Wood, who is struggling with an Achilles injury.

Robshaw believes the Springboks will provide their customary confrontational challenge, and will be fired up after losing 29-15 against Ireland in Dublin.

"It's probably the most physical game you play," he said.

"They have brought a couple of guys back and there is a huge amount of experience there, [players] who have been around the world and experienced the big occasions.

"So we've got a massive challenge ahead of us."

Listen to 5 live Rugby from 20:00 GMT on Thursday for a comprehensive preview of the weekend's internationals.