England must 'deal with expectation'

Date published: September 18 2013

England coach Graham Rowntree claims it will be harder to lift the World Cup than it was leading the Lions to a series win in Australia.

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree claims it will be harder to lift the World Cup than it was leading the British and Irish Lions to a series victory over Australia.

The Lions secured their first series win since 1997 Down Under in June and Rowntree was part of the four-man coaching team who masterminded the success.

However, the former prop forward admits his focus has now shifted to the three-Test November series as well as the 2015 World Cup, which England will be hoping to win on home soil.

Stuart Lancaster's side kick-start their end-of-year internationals against Australia in a little over a month and will be hoping to replicate their victory over New Zealand twelve months ago as they build towards the ultimate challenge, the World Cup.

“It is a World Cup, there will be massive pressure and home interest,” Rowntree told the Times.

“That is why the experience in the summer, under pressure in a hostile environment and having to deliver in that last Test, was so good for us and good for the lads.

“Expectation is the key word. We speak about wanting to be the top team, expecting to win every week. Over the past 18 months we've gone away from home, won games we shouldn't have won, beaten the All Blacks.

“We want to get to a stage where we are a team that is expected to win and deal that expectation. The All Blacks have dealt with that expectation for years.”

The former Leicester Tiger will help guide England alongside fellow Lions coach Andy Farrell, head coach Lancaster and backs coach Mike Catt.

And Farrell believes the November internationals are a very productive set of fixtures which enable players to put their hands up and impress on the big stage.

“There are a few positions in the side where this is nothing locked down; there is always competition for places,” Farrell said. “But there are a couple of positions where you'd like somebody to go, “I'm going to dominate this position now.”

“This is the year for a few of those new lads, those ten-cappers, or a no-capper even, to put their hands up and say, “This is my position for the next three or four years and I am going to show you why.”