"Beating New Zealand like that was definitely satisfying for me, it's always nice to finish on something special. When you're younger - or even now - you read about international captains of whatever sport in the media, for good or bad reasons," he told Sky Sports News.
"The previous year we as a team and myself had enjoyed a lot of good press. It was my first time experiencing the other side. It did hit us, you try not to read it, but you do know what's out there and what's being said.
"The day after South Africa I went into camp and my head was a bit down. I went home for the weekend to try and get away. I was a bit down and moping about. That night the boys spoke to me and said, 'Don't worry, we're going to win this weekend and it will be fine'. It really made me appreciate the character of the guys we have in the England squad at the moment."
England ended 2012 with a 38-21 victory over World Cup holders New Zealand.