Former Lions tourist Mark Cueto says now is the time for England to live up to their potential.
The 2005 Lion has been one of his country’s most consistent performers in 2010 having missed out on a second successive tour with Britain and Ireland’s elite 12 months ago.
Cueto, who will be among England’s most-experienced players when they travel Down Under later this month, was named man-of-the-match in Saturday’s 36-25 win over the Barbarians at Twickenham.
But while Cueto’s own individual performance received plenty of plaudits, England’s overall display was met with a mixed reception.
And the Sale star – a member of the Lions’ starting XV in the third Test against the All Blacks five years ago – knows the time has now come for Martin Johnson’s men to perform for the full 80 minutes against the best sides in the world.
“Australia beat us at Twickenham last autumn and that suggests it will be even tougher in their own backyard,” Cueto told the Daily Express ahead of the two-Test series against the Wallabies and the mid-week matches with the Australian Barbarians and the New Zealand Maori.
“You have to be realistic and respect your opponents but we can’t go out there looking merely to compete.
“It’s time we put pressure on ourselves to achieve not only the right results but the right performances. We need to do it in spells of longer than five or 10 minutes. Our good stuff has tended to be in fits and starts.
“This tour has a huge significance and it is time we put into practice everything we do when we prepare and everything we talk about when we are asked.
“England have a vast amount of ability and I’m confident we will soon make the breakthrough.”