Andrew admits England have much to do

Elite rugby director Rob Andrew admits England have a "lot of catching up to do" in a short space of time if they are to mount a credible World Cup defence. [more]

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Elite rugby director Rob Andrew admits England have a "lot of catching up to do" in a short space of time if they are to mount a credible World Cup defence.

England have lost 15 of their last 16 away matches and now have just three weeks to right the wrongs of their recent back-to-back Test defeats to France before they face USA in their World Cup opener.

Head coach Brian Ashton has spent the summer constructing a ferocious defensive attitude and a huge pack of forwards – but England lacked any magic with the ball in hand and failed to score a try in either game.

That is what could ultimately make the difference in France over the next two months.

Andrew insists no stone is being left unturned as England try to make up for lost time – and he is confident Saturday’s 22-9 defeat in Marseille is not a true reflection of what is to come at the World Cup.

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"You need to look at England in the context of what has happened in the last 12 months – the coaching changes that have taken place, the issues we had in the Six Nations and surrounding the South Africa tour," said Andrew, the RFU’s director of elite rugby.

"England have probably had only five weeks of rugby preparation this summer. They have chosen to train incredibly hard in Test match weeks, which is not usual, in order to make up for lost time.

"It is no surprise Brian (Ashton), the coaches and players themselves are a little bit frustrated. The last two weeks haven’t taken them where they want to go.

"Clearly, there are some creative and finishing issues they will have to work on in the next few weeks. Big games are won by small margins and England need to find a way of unlocking one or two half chances.

"They have still got a lot of work to do and a lot of catching up to do – but there is a huge determination to do that.

"I’d be surprised if there is a group of players who have worked harder anywhere in the world than England. They have put an enormous amount of foundation work in and they are incredibly determined to deliver on the big stage.

"I am very confident England will give a good account of themselves."

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