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England can't feel sorry for itself

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Sportal.co.nz     24 Nov 2008     Getty Images

Martin Johnson's men were crushed 42-6 by South Africa at Twickenham yesterday a week after succumbing to Australia, and face the All Blacks knowing they have a massive repair job to do.

However, Rees knows he and his teammates will gain little from simply licking their wounds in the wake of a heaviest ever defeat at headquarters.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme: "There is no getting away from the fact that we are hugely disappointed, but there would be no point in beating ourselves up to the point of defeating ourselves next weekend before we even start.

"The biggest thing now for us this week is just to try to stick together. We expect a lot of ourselves, and that is important, but we are just going to have to accept what has happened and move on.

"I don't think there is going to be any reading of the riot act because in terms of the effort and the endeavour that has gone in, you couldn't ask for anymore.

"Unfortunately, the execution and the composure is what is lacking, and shouting and screaming at guys isn't necessary and isn't going to get those results.

"Whilst we may have have been a long time in training camp, we have been together as a team for four weeks in total - we are playing against sides where there are players a couple of years my junior with double the amount of caps I have got.

"I definitely believe we can build for the future, but that's not something we can sit back and rely on now.

"We can't just say, 'don't worry, things will just turn around', we need to go out and make these things happen, and our next opportunity to do that is next week."

England enjoyed plenty of territory and possession in yesterday's game, but were unable to make the most of their forays into the South Africa 22.

To compound their lack of cutting edge in attack, they made fatal errors in defence as the visitors ran in five unanswered tries.

Rees said: "I wish I knew the exact reason. I am sure it would be very easy if we had one simple thing we could pin it on, but there are a whole host of factors.

"I hate to say it, because it is always going to sound like an excuse, but we all as players know we are coming together for the first time this autumn.

"If you look at the number of caps in the side, there aren't that many and unfortunately, in order to reap the fruit from it later, these are perhaps the experiences we have to go through.

"That's not to say we go out expecting to lose. We were extremely disappointed to come away with the result as it was, and we have just got to pick ourselves up and now look forward to next weekend.

"We spoke earlier in the week about moving forward from the Australia game and in some areas, we have done.

"But unfortunately the biggest one, which is composure and staying relaxed under the pressure of the game, the Australians demonstrated last week and the South Africans demonstrated yesterday, is the area where we are lacking."