ENGLAND rugby head coach Stuart Lancaster has warned his team that New Zealand will punish them next weekend unless they develop a more ruthless streak.
Lancaster’s team coasted to a 31-12 victory over Argentina on Saturday at Twickenham but looked complacent in a dreary second half that was notable only for replacement No8 Ben Morgan’s late try.
Earlier scores from London Wasps lock Joe Launchbury, Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees and Saracens wing Chris Ashton had long since secured the spoils in the second November international.
The All Blacks arrive at HQ for the autumn finale on Saturday and Lancaster believes the world champions, who beat France 26-19 in Paris this week, will teach England a lesson if they let their intensity drop again.
“We need to work on our accuracy to get that 80-minute performance because, to beat the best team in the world, which is what we’re facing, we need to be at that level,” he said.
“We need to go up a couple of notches, definitely. We’ve had a good look at New Zealand during the Rugby Championship. If you slip an inch against them, they take it, so we’ll have to be at our best.”
The weekend win followed a 20-13 triumph over Australia and means that England have still lost just once all year – to Wales in the Six Nations decider in Cardiff.
“If you said before the game we would win 31-12, when I look at some of their performances in the Rugby Championship then I would have taken that,” said Lancaster, who last night added Wasps prop Matt Mullan to his squad as cover for the injured Mako Vunipola. “When you have a young side, sometimes you need to go through these experiences to learn. We’ve certainly learnt a lot on the previous week against Australia.
“We’ll have learnt more from this game and hopefully it will stand us in good stead against New Zealand.”