Ben Youngs believes England’s Six Nations title defence will be reduced to ruins unless they deliver an improvement on their autumn series.
A 48-14 rout of Samoa on Saturday completed a clean sweep of victories from this month’s trio of internationals to elevate the team’s record under Eddie Jones to 22 wins from 23 Tests.
While Youngs reflects on a successful series, that also saw Argentina and Australia fall at Twickenham, he insists England’s quest for an unprecedented third successive Six Nations crown will fail if they are unable to address their shortcomings.
“We’re really pleased with the wins, but know that what we’ve done over the last three weeks won’t be good enough to compete for the title,” the Leicester scrum-half said.
“We need to make sure we learn pretty quickly on those areas that have let us down.
“The important thing is to see how quickly we evolve on the back of the lessons we’ve had during these three weeks.
“As a whole it’s been a successful autumn. We’ve made some huge gains in certain areas.
“The Australia match was vital for us and Samoa was a little bit of a different mindset because of the changes made to the team, but it was pleasing to see the depth of the squad.
“We have a mini-camp just after New Year so we’ll be back together before we know it.”
Seven tries were amassed against Samoa, two of them scored by wing Elliot Daly, but it was a laboured performance against spirited opposition who crossed twice themselves.
Mike Brown raced over after 141 seconds to hint at an overwhelming victory, but the middle of a dour Test produced a pointless half-hour interlude before Henry Slade and Semesa Rokoduguni touched down in the closing moments.
“The later tries showed that if we’re accurate and go through the phases, there will be opportunities,” Youngs said.
“We had the right intentions early on but you just have to control the ball a bit better and we managed to do that at the end of the game.
“It highlights the need do the right thing at the right time. Sometimes you can get carried away by the circumstances and having scored two very early tries we tried to force it, looking for that miracle ball too often.
“It shows that if you give any team a sniff, they’ll be amongst it. We were able to go back to our basics eventually, but it would have been better had we done that sooner.
“The intention of the boys was outstanding. It was probably accuracy that let us down and put a downer on the whole thing.”