Catt wants England to pounce
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 having played at international level there.
The former centre, who has accepted a short-term role in Stuart Lancaster's coaching team, toured the country with England in 2000, three years before Clive Woodward's side went on to win the Rugby World Cup.
Catt believes the hostile conditions will be a timely test for the new crop of young English players following their second-placed finish in the RBS 6 Nations.
"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.
"It's very hostile and is a huge challenge for these young guys who have never been there. From what we've seen in the Six Nations, I think this young England team can go down and hold their own.
"The advantage we had in 2000 is that we had been together for three years as an England side whereas this England side has only been together for six or seven months.
"It's going to be a huge ask but I think the players are going to embrace it and the coaches are going to embrace it and we're going to give it our all."
Catt joined England's coaching set-up on Monday after New Zealander Wayne Smith turned the role down to stay in his native country for family reasons.
Catt, a 75-cap international, is now relishing the chance to lay down a marker and help improve England's attacking options when he leaves his coaching role at London Irish after their last game of the season against Gloucester on Saturday.
Catt said: "I've got a two-month window that I need to make sure I get things right, make sure I complement Stuart and Graham in everything they do and that I get the players on board too.
"Stuart has given me this opportunity I just want to take it with both hands."
One player he will not be working with is Northampton lock Courtney Lawes, who has become the latest forward to be ruled out the South Africa tour due to a shin injury.
The 23-year-old has been out of action since suffering a stress fracture in the RBS 6 Nations defeat by Wales, which capped an injury-hit tournament for the second row, after a knee injury caused him to miss England's opening two fixtures.
And boss Jim Mallinder told BBC Northampton: "We were hoping he might play some part this season but it's looking like he has not quite recovered enough from his shin injury, so it looks like he'll probably not play for the remainder of this season for Saints or for England.
"He is gutted, you want to be involved in the big games, that means semi-finals, if we get there, and finals and, of course, going on England tours."