June International Tours

Regan up front and honest about challenges ahead

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Despite suffering their heaviest defeat against South Africa last weekend in the First Test England have not hidden behind a cluster of excuses for their performance. Rather they have fronted up and taken a brutal and honest look at themselves and non more so than straight talking hooker Mark Regan.

Regan , who will win his thirty-fifth cap on Saturday, if selected, was not shy in coming forward about England’s lacklustre display in Bloemfontein last week.

“While as a pack we may have gone well in the scrum that is just a small part of the game,” he said.

“Elsewhere we made a lot of errors and they cost us dear. You cant afford to give turnovers away against a side like South Africa. They will and did punish us with a killer instinct.

“To concede four tries like we did the score suddenly mounts up against you. There were a lot of changes for us personal wise but obviously that is needed at times and it is no excuse.”

A proud and fierce scrummagers, Regan was happy with that aspect of his and England’s game, but knows they will need another huge effort come Saturday, and a much improved all round game.

“They were 46kg heavier in the pack than us and what we achieved was a great thing and we have all taken a pat on the back for that but at the end of the day scrimmaging is a mental thing and is only a small part of the game and there were a lot of other things that went wrong,” admitted Regan.

“I see Saturday as another massive challenge. There is another wave coming our way and its green! I understand they are not particularly happy about the way we scrummaged against them but its up to us to counter attack whatever they bring to the table.”

“The whole pack can take a bit of confidence about the way we dealt with their scrum last week. It’s a job well done and a tick in the box, but for us there were a lot more crosses unfortunately.”

The main downfall for England, as they have been at pains to express this week, was the amount of turnover ball the conceded and the manner in which they failed to defend from the subsequent loss of possession.

“We made about five or six turnovers at crucial times and at international rugby if you do turn the ball over it costs you seven points more often than not.”

“If we can just keep hold of the ball and commit just half of those mistakes and defend for a good minute after we may get the ball back as opposed to conceding a try.

It is not all doom and gloom according to Regan, who sighted four key areas England need to work on if they are to stand any chance of turning things around in Pretoria on Saturday.

“We have taken a knock and to turn it around I think there are possibly four things we need to work on,” he said.

“Mentally we know now what is coming, we need to get it physically right, tactically right and technically right. If we get those four things right we can achieve a better result than we did last weekend.

“We know what is coming on Saturday and it is going to be physical and South Africa are the most physical side in the world and they will run at you and over you if they can and it’s the hardest place in the world to play.

Regan, who made his debut in a losing England side against South Africa, could also end his England career with another defeat to the Springboks. However the west Countryman has hopes of continuing his time with England with the World Cup coming up.

“I have seen it as a big opportunity for myself to come on this tour. I know what I can do on and off the field,” Regan said.

“I have matured as a person and as a player and I knew what my objectives were before we came here.

“If there was an opportunity for me to be there or there about for the World Cup squad then naturally I would love to go, but we will have to see what happens over the next few months now.

“At the end of the day all you can do is get

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