Mike Tindall and Steve Borthwick will spend the next week trying to convince England’s beaten youngsters the All Blacks are not invincible.
England travelled to Christchurch today bruised in body and mind after a 37-20 defeat by New Zealand yesterday that was more emphatic than the scoreline suggested.
The All Blacks weathered England’s early forward dominance and then scored 34 points in only 21 minutes either side of the interval, rendering Topsy Ojo’s double on debut mere consolation.
Tindall cut a frustrated figure at the manner in which the All Blacks exploited glaring defensive errors – but he insists England can perform a remarkable turnaround in the space of seven days.
Tindall said: "We have to believe that or what is the point in being here? If I didn’t believe we were good enough to compete on this level why would I be playing?
"New Zealand made it hard but I don’t think they are invincible. That is for us to try and prove next week.
"The worst thing is you don’t feel like they earned it. They just walked though our defensive line.
"It is more frustrating than anything. We made a lot of errors and they are the most clinical team in world rugby.
"I believe we didn’t present all we have. We saw glimpses of it in the first 20 minutes when we should have scored but after that we were pretty average.
"We didn’t really have a go until the last 15 minutes. We have great forwards who can carry the ball and we didn’t get them into the game.
"We need to find ways to get runners into the game. We have got a team built for fast ball. The All Blacks make it hard but we need to get it."
The post-match debrief will have been painful for a number of players, not least Charlie Hodgson, whose defensive deficiencies were shown up by Ma’a Nonu before he was replaced after only 50 minutes.
But he was not alone. England conceded three of the four tries directly from set-pieces, which left defence coach Mike Ford "embarrassed".
Tindall, the oldest member of England’s new-look starting XV at 29, stated it was unacceptable at Test level.
"It wasn’t a lack of composure. That doesn’t come into it when you can’t defend set-pieces. That is just accuracy," he said.
"You work on defence all week and then it doesn’t stack up on the field. It is frustrating because it wasn’t even anything spectacular (from New Zealand).
"This was the first outing of a new squad and it didn’t go very well.
"Steve and I will have to take a look at the game, sit down with the coaches, work out what we will do next week and come up with a gameplan.
"A lot of the problems were based around mistakes and set-piece defence. We did not build on that first 20 minutes and we need to find a way to change that.
"It is about hard work and about being wise."