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Maro Itoje relishing Springboks challenge

cape Town – Saracens second-row Maro Itoje says England are ready for
the “incredible challenge” of winning a Test series in South Africa
this summer. 

Itoje joined up with England after helping his club secure
the Premiership title by beating Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham Stadium last

England will play three Tests against the Springboks in June
looking for a first ever series win in South Africa. 

“We’ve got an incredible challenge before us,” the
23-year-old told England Rugby. 

“We’ve only been in camp since Tuesday but you quickly get
the feeling that something big is about to happen and we’re really, really
excited for it. 

“You can tell by the way the coaches are speaking, you can
tell by the way my team mates are speaking, by the way they’re training and the
application is all looking good.” 

England will be looking to respond to their disappointing
Six Nations campaign earlier this year, and Itoje is confident with the ability
in the squad. 

“The truth of the matter is we know we’re a good team, we
know we have very good coaches and I believe if we play our style of rugby to
the best of our ability on our day, most teams will struggle against us,”
he said. 

“That’s the mindset and mentality that we’re going to go out
there with, we want to take this tour by the scruff of the neck and leave our

With Dylan Hartley ruled out of the tour to South Africa, Owen
Farrell will lead the squad for the Tests in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and
Cape Town. 

Having come through the academy at Sarries with Farrell,
Itoje knows more than most how he can lead a side. “Owen pushes the standards
more than most.” 

“I actually think Owen plays better as captain,” added

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