South Africa coach Peter de Villiers warned his side to gear up for a fierce England backlash after watching the Springboks struggle to get the better of a spirited Scotland outfit 14-10 at Murrayfield on Saturday.

England’s defeat to Australia at clearly surprised De Villiers and he expressed his worry that he could be taking his team to Twickenham at the wrong time next weekend.

He said: “That is a fantastic win for the Australians and England will be hurting. It will make them extra dangerous when we face them and we will be in for a massive battle.” De Villiers couldn’t disguise his relief in the wake of the final whistle and praised the efforts of the Scots.

He said: “It was not a pretty performance by us, but we showed a lot of character to win in the circumstances.

“This was a banana skin game for us and what a match Scotland played! “Their rugby is definitely on an upward curve and they gave us a harder battle than Wales did, a real run for our money.” He added: “I was again disappointed at the number of penalties we gave away. There definitely is a degree of confusion over the new experimental laws.” Indeed De Villiers was much more positive about Scotland than their own coach Frank Hadden.

Success-starved Hadden refused to slip into self-pity mode in the wake of the latest Murrayfield defeat by the Springboks.

And he insisted his troops only had themselves to blame for the result than will mean so much in terms of their World Cup seeding.

The coach declared: “We are absolutely gutted – much more frustrated than we were after the All Blacks game last weekend.