Tom Wood
Wood has sent a warning to South Africa that England are prepared for a physical battleShaun Botterill/Getty Images

England are ready for a physical test against South Africa next week after almost shocking world champions New Zealand, according to open-side flanker Tom Wood.

Stuart Lancaster's side lost 21-24 at Twickenham on Saturday and though it was their fourth loss to the All Blacks in 2014, England had the world number one ranked nation on the ropes for long periods after Jonny May's early try.

South Africa, who ended New Zealand's 22-match unbeaten run in October, are England's next opponents of their four-match autumn series and the Springboks will be seeking a return to winning ways themselves having lost to Ireland.

And Wood says next year's World Cup hosts have sent a message to Heyneke Meyer's side with a performance which saw them push New Zealand to their limits.

"When we got some territory we were very dangerous, they struggled to hold onto us," said the Northampton forward. "Our scrum and maul was very good and we look good with the ball in hand.

"We showed we can compete and dominate for long periods particularly up front.

"We've gone toe-to-toe with the All Blacks, we were just on the wrong side of it but they're widely acclaimed as the best team in the world. We've pushed them very hard and hurt them in a lot of areas."

The key to next weekend's contest between the nations ranked number two and number three in the IRB rankings is expected is surround the scrum and the breakdown.

Wood insists that plays into England's favour despite having the likes of Dan Cole, Alex Corbisiero, Joe Launchbury and Geoff Parling absent from the front five.

The 28-year-old Wood added: "[We're expecting] a pretty physical one [match], they're the only side of beat the All Blacks in recent times and they're a quality outfit.

"Big, powerful pack and they're a top quality international side so we need to be on top quality throughout. Our focus has been entirely on the All Blacks until now so we need to put certain things together for South Africa.

"I don't think we've ever struggled as a pack , we've always been very confident. We've struggled to get ourselves into the game at times but when it comes to maul and scrum we feel confident we can take any team on."