It was a case of stating the obvious but England's captain Chris Robshaw admitted that the task facing his team in the remaining QBE Internationals would be tougher than this seven-try rout of Fiji. "We're under no illusions how hard the next three weeks are going to be," Robshaw said of the successive visits of Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, ranked numbers two, three and one in the world. "It will be a step up against Australia."
Stuart Lancaster went a stride further, saying that playing the Wallabies required England to "step up a couple of levels", but the head coach declared himself happy with the performance on debut of the Leicester hooker Tom Youngs and applauded full-back Alex Goode's "ability to move defenders around – he even did it at scrum-half when Danny Care was off [in the sin-bin] in the first half."
Lancaster added: "Whilst we didn't convert every opportunity, we were pleased with the opportunities we did take. That cohesion we want is growing now, which is what we'll need to play sides who have been through the Rugby Championship together in the summer. We saw things we'd done in training coming through."
Fiji would have given their right arms for England's pre-season training camp and the last two weeks spent preparing together in Burton and Bagshot, and they are considering filing a formal complaint to the International Rugby Board over French and English clubs making players unavailable or at least holding them back with spurious tales of injury. "The England boys had two weeks together, we had one training session," said Inoke Male, the Fiji coach. "We really stood up for the first 30 minutes but after that it was tough against a good team."
Tom Youngs, who was a centre three years ago before switching positions, reflected on a solid debut with equanimity. "International rugby is definitely not a doddle – I was happy to get 100 per cent in the line-out, but that's always my goal. It's still a work in progress." And man of the match Goode said: "We know we can add to that – and we need to play better than that against Australia."
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