Lewis Moody: Beating the All Blacks is a giant step on road to 2015 for England

Moody Views: A result to offer genuine hope... the players’ self-belief was remarkable

Who saw that coming? I have been one of the more supportive voices in England's favour over the last few weeks but I never saw them beating New Zealand. The criticism levelled at Stuart Lancaster and his players over the previous two weeks was not a true reflection of their worth. Equally, incredible as Saturday's performance was, England are not all of a sudden miles ahead of everybody else. Lancaster will be well aware of that and so will the players, for all the well-deserved euphoria that accompanied them off the Twickenham pitch.

They will take that performance for what it was; a stunning success for a well-committed and hungry young England team. Now they have to look to repeat that time after time – all the way to the World Cup. You have to continually deliver and that is the hardest thing to do. Be realistic – keep perspective.

This is one win out of three games, although England have grown into their performances and come together as a team. Now the players have to return to their clubs and refocus as they immediately have a massive European weekend coming up. There is no time for rest – this is what the young England players will learn. You go straight into a competition that is almost international standard and you have to keep producing for your club until the Six Nations comes round and you are playing well enough to be selected.

That result, though, offers genuine hope England will be a force when the big tournaments come along. When the All Blacks came back to within a point most teams would have capitulated – that is what we have seen from good sides over the last year. But the self-belief was remarkable – that was the most exciting element of the entire performance.

Lancaster has said this is about long-term progression and this is a step along a long road – even if it was one hell of a step. I was so excited and proud to be an England supporter on Saturday, particularly for what it meant to some former team-mates of mine.

Take Tom Youngs. He has been one of the players of the autumn – to go from the centre to being an international-class hooker in the space of five years is remarkable. In fact it's ridiculous. England went into the autumn without a second-choice hooker of any substance. Now Youngs is putting real pressure on Dylan Hartley to be first choice. That is indicative of one of the most positive features for Lancaster across the team, there is now real competition for places. Alex Goode can challenge Ben Foden at full-back for the Six Nations and beyond, and Mike Brown has to be considered too, either there or on the wing. Ben Youngs and Danny Care are nip and tuck at No 9, while Owen Farrell showed just what he is about at 10. With Toby Flood to come back and then Freddie Burns and George Ford on the horizon this is an exciting situation for England. Outside the half-backs, Brad Barritt did an incredible job on Saturday but I don't see him as the long-term answer. Jonathan Joseph, and possibly Billy Twelvetrees, are good enough to eclipse him.

It was a huge game for Manu Tuilagi, who answered the doubters in terms of his all-round game. This is no bash-bash-bash merchant, he showed sleight of hand and a poacher's instinct too.

Up front the second and back rows have encouraging depth. Joe Launchbury (pictured), Geoff Parling and Courtney Lawes will have a real tussle to start in the Six Nations. Add Tom Croft to Tom Wood, Chris Robshaw and Ben Morgan in the back-row battle and there's another area bolstered.

It was striking for such a young squad to come together and play like that, to gain a record victory over a team we had not beaten for the best part of a decade, in such harsh circumstances, having gone into the game pursued by the negativity of the last two weeks.

Like any coach, Lancaster will have been feeling the pressure after two defeats. You could see that from his demeanour, but that's what playing or coaching at the highest level is all about, dealing with that pressure.

What matters is what the players and coaches think of the performance and England are really critical and honest about what they do on the pitch. It's easy to be on a high from winning and forget about correcting the errors. There were still plenty of things that went wrong in that game. In the first half, there were a number of missed chances to score a try – there are areas to work on but it's far easier doing it on the back of a win like this.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn