Catt: Tough tour vital

Kate Bamber

MIKE CATT believes a successful tour of South Africa this summer will give England a mental edge and set them up for a strong World Cup cycle.

Catt, who was born and raised in Port Elizabeth but spent his professional playing career in England, knows what to expect from such a passionate rugby nation.

The former multi-talented back, who has accepted a short-term role in Stuart Lancaster's coaching team, toured the country with England in 2000.

He believes the hostile conditions will be a timely test for a new and talented crop of English players.

"If you go down into the southern hemisphere and beat them in their own back yard it definitely gives you that mental edge on things," Catt said.

"From what we've seen in the Six Nations, I think this young England team can go down and hold their own."

Catt joined England's set-up on Monday, after New Zealander Wayne Smith turned the role down to stay in his native country for family reasons.

One player he will not be working with is Northampton lock Courtney Lawes, who has become the latest forward to be ruled out of the South Africa tour, due to a shin injury.