When Stuart Lancaster's England squad get together on Sunday for a training camp in Leeds to prepare for their Six Nations campaign they will be told they are required to find the intensity of world-beaters.
The coaching squad's plan for the players is to take them back to the zenith of their year, that Twickenham victory against the All Blacks which made them feel anything was possible. They will be shown a re-run of last month's 38-21 victory and told they have to be that good... all the time.
"Every England fan wants to know whether the New Zealand game was a one-off," said forwards coach Graham Rowntree. "We're going to show the New Zealand game and tell the boys to remember what we learned from it, remind them what England looked like. Then we have to talk about how to replicate exactly that same intensity in training and in the Six Nations, because that is how we want to play."
That means players producing the aggressive quality Tom Wood and Dan Cole provided in contesting the tackle ball, the pack taking charge. Penalties will have to be kicked as cleanly and consistently as Owen Farrell did against the All Blacks. Players such as Chris Robshaw and Brad Barritt will have to produce driving runs and there will have to be quick skilful runs with the ball in the style of Manu Tuilagi and Chris Ashton.
"We start at a ground zero," Rowntree said. "We've had it all planned for weeks. Our bedrock statement is this: hard to beat; you will get nothing easy from us. We will be talking about giving the opposition what they don't want.
"That is an Andy Farrell expression and it is a great one. We caught the All Blacks out like that, because of intensity at the breakdown, in the tackle, and counter-rucking, and that helped us to the high point."
England's first game in the Six Nations is against Scotland on 2 February and Rowntree expects the Scots to have a point to prove.
"They worry me," he said. "There is nothing more dangerous in sport than the team with nothing to lose. They will come under two interim coaches, with a new approach and a new-look team. They are us a year ago, and that worries me."
Rowntree and Farrell will be missing from the England coaching set-up for their tour to Argentina in June because they will be on Lions duty in Australia and Lancaster is looking to give another forwards expert a chance to shine in their places.
The England coach, who will approach the Professional Game Board on Thursday for permission to talk to Premiership coaches, said: "I need people who, ideally, are available for the Barbarians week. The Premiership final is that week so that makes it difficult, but we will have to see. There are lots of good English coaches in the Premiership who I think would be excited by the opportunity.
"We'll take a four- or five-man coaching team, and we'll be taking a midweek team to Argentina, too, so it won't be dissimilar to what we did in South Africa."Reuse content