DURBAN - It is time for England to move on from their exploits in this year's Six Nations and build on their good start under coach Stuart Lancaster, lock Geoff Parling said on Tuesday.
England finished second in the Six Nations losing only once, to eventual champions Wales, confounding many experts who felt the team would struggle in Lancaster's first series in charge.
"It is important to move on from the Six Nations. We exceeded a lot of people's expectations in the Six Nations but we didn't actually win, we came second," Parling told reporters in Durban where England play South Africa on June 9 in the first of three tests.
"We want to strive to win those competitions but now we are moving on from there, it is about building and trying to get better.
"There is no better opportunity, especially for the forwards, than to try and do it here (South Africa). We don't want to talk about the Six Nations anymore, we want to move on and talk about having a successful tour," he explained.
England have not beaten the Springboks in South Africa since a 27-22 victory in Bloemfontein in 2000.
However, South Africa will be playing their first test under coach Heyneke Meyer and the squad will only have had five days together before clash but Parling said he and his team mates were not thinking too far ahead.
"I don't think we can get too far ahead of ourselves because it is going to be difficult," the 28-year-old said.
"There are a lot of familiar faces in the South African squad so they will know each other well. It is certainly an opportunity to come to what is a very difficult place to play rugby and try and be successful. But we are under no illusions that it is going to be very difficult," he added.
Much has been made of the physical squad that Meyer has chosen but Parling said England would not be overawed.
"You can say that we are still a pretty young pack in terms of experience and playing together but you can see the character in the team. You see the way Chris Robshaw has led the team this season and I'm sure we've got more than enough character in the squad."