Rugby: No half measures from England

England coach Stuart Lancaster

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England coach Stuart Lancaster feels his men must hit the ground running when they take on Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.

The Red Rose are set to play three internationals this autumn, with clashes against Argentina and the mighty All Blacks to follow the weekend encounter with the Wallabies.

England have improved dramatically under Lancaster, and the debacle of the last World Cup under the Martin Johnson regime now seems a long time ago.

But they were unable to get the job done in last season’s RBS 6 Nations and fell at the final hurdle to Wales in Cardiff.

The RBS 6 Nations is very much a target for Lancaster and his men this season but they will have to put it to the back of their mind at present with three tough fixtures on the horizon.

And the coach believes that his charges need to hit their straps from the first whistle to ensure that they keep progressing in a vital year in their development.

“This is a defining year for us,” he said. “We can’t make the mistake of waiting a game or two before getting up to speed. It’s our job to be ready for the here and now.”

Lancaster has opted for youth in his first team selection of the new campaign, with the average age of the team just 24, and the former Leeds coach wants his young players to draw on the positive results of recent games to grow as a team.

“We’ve had some good experiences and some not so good, but the good have outweighed the not so good,” he added. “It’s a matter of building on those now.”

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