Planet Rugby

Rowntree pleased with progress

29th January 2014 08:53


graham rowntree england

More to come: Graham Rowntree

England forward coach Graham Rowntree believes his set of forwards are moving in the right direction ahead of the Six Nations.

The improvement from England's eight was noticeable last year in the November Tests against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand.

Built around a young core including captain Chris Robshaw, Tom Wood, Joe Launchbury and Dylan Hartley.

Rowntree took Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs and Dan Cole on the Lions tour and the experience gained from that trip to Australia looks set to be benefiting England in the long-term.

"I'm pleased with how we're progressing, particularly in that last game against New Zealand," said Rowntree.

"New Zealand are the best team in the world and we reeled them in to 22-20.

"What I liked was that the blend of our game was good in terms of our set piece and carrying. You must have threats across the field in every fact of the game.

"Towards the end of the game we had a couple of slip ups at the lineout which we can't afford to do.

"They're the learnings we take, but I'm happy with the way we're going.

"There's lots more to come. Test level, as I say to the lads, is about doing lots of little things exceptionally well.

"We have to learn to do those for 80 minutes. That's the progression for us and it will come with experience."

Rowntree was speaking ahead of England's trip to Paris this weekend to take on France, an occasion he remembers fondly from his time as a player.

"Some of the highlights of my career were winning in France and that was both at club and international level," added Rowntree.

"I have a lot of respect for them and there's no such thing as a weak French team, regardless of what happened last year. I have too much respect for them to believe that."

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