Wing Jonny May says the reason for England’s recent woes has been their poor on-field discipline which the squad have vowed to clean up.
England suffered their fourth successive Test defeat, going down 1-0 in the first Test of a three-Test series at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.
And May has pinpointed the side’s high penalty count as the major problem.
“We should have realised by now the impact one penalty has on the momentum of a game, let alone back-to-back penalties,” he told the Guardian.
“In the Six Nations it killed us and it was as bad as ever at the weekend.
“We have spoken as a group because we’re desperate to be the best. One penalty can really get a team going. It’s such a frustrating one because we don’t want to be giving away penalties.
“We know better than that. But at the moment hands up, it’s on us, because it’s not good enough. You might think it’s just a silly penalty but it can change the game.
“I don’t really think about losing five in a row. I’m sure the other boys are like that as well. But we know what is at stake.
“We want to win the series and the pressure is on us but we have to make sure we don’t turn too desperate because it will lead to people trying too hard. Maybe that’s what we’re doing: forcing it a bit too much.
“The things that are making us come unstuck are things that we can fix ourselves.”
Meanwhile, May says the squad never should have thrown away their lead in the aftermath of the 42-39 defeat, having been 24-3 ahead at one stage.
“We almost shocked ourselves with how good we were in that first 20 minutes,” May said.
“Eddie said that is the best he has seen us play and he has been around a lot. We felt we never should have lost that game.”