Lancaster longs for Autumn progression

ENGLAND coach Stuart Lancaster believes his side’s Autumn internationals represent the right time to make significant progress and improve on the promise shown since his appointment.

From 10 November, England are to face Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand on consecutive weekends. It is an intimidating run by anyone’s standards, particularly after a 2-0 Test series defeat away to South Africa in the summer, but Lancaster remains confident in his young side’s potential.

“We’ve got a good group and we see the autumn internationals as a key staging point,” Lancaster said. “You don’t ever want to big yourselves up too much.

“We’ve had a bit of instability. We settled down during the Six Nations, I finally got the job and then we went to South Africa and, at the end of a long, hard season, I think we competed well.

“Coming back to the Loughborough camp, whilst it was only four weeks after the end of the tour, we were in good shape, good spirits, the players were cohesive in terms of a game plan and now it’s time to kick on.”

The Northampton forward Courtney Lawes is one who could be pivotal to any potential England success and, after regaining fitness, he has admitted he hopes for an international return.

“If I play well and get game-time, I’m sure I’ll be fine going into internationals,” Lawes said.

Another in contention is Bath prop David Wilson, who has been added to England’s elite squad.