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We've under-performed - Rowntree

Graham Rowntree admits England are "thoroughly p***ed off" as they target the victory over Samoa that will begin healing the wounds of a disappointing QBE Series.

Defeats by New Zealand and South Africa have extended their losing run to five Tests and, with just 10 months to go until next year's home World Cup, time is running out to build a team capable of toppling the southern-hemisphere giants.

The Springboks departed Twickenham 31-28 winners last Saturday and England have since been forced to deny they have reached crisis point as pressure builds on the squad.

Big-hitting Samoa is a game they dare not lose, and Rowntree acknowledges it has been a troubled week full of soul-searching.

"We're thoroughly p***ed off. As players and coaches, we spent two and a half days sulking. I'm in my own little bubble. It's foggy," the forwards coach said.

"Our performances have been well documented. We have a lot of things to put right there.

"It's been a tough week - one of the hardest I've experienced. There have been some very frank discussions.

"We're really unhappy with our two defeats. Although they're by a total of six points, we know we're under-performing and that hurts.

"There were plenty of harsh words from everyone involved. We've had some very frank discussions.

"You spend two and a half days beating yourselves up, showing lads clips of what to do better because we can't have things reoccurring as they are."

England self-destructed against South Africa with scrum-half Danny Care gifting an intercept try, hooker Dylan Hartley receiving a yellow card for a brainless stamp and the pack splintering to concede a decisive second-half touchdown.

"I was surprised by the two tries we leaked. We all were because they weren't in the plan. We weren't edgy - we trained well all week," Rowntree said.

"But you can't legislate for guys dropping the ball or making mistakes. This week we've talked about eradicating errors because this just can't keep happening.

"We're doing everything we can and the lads are desperate to fulfil what ability they have. We're not performing to the best of our ability on a consistent basis."

The visit of Australia to Twickenham concludes the autumn programme on Saturday week, but England could not have asked for tougher opponents than Samoa to complete the QBE Series.

"Samoans are quite sizeable. I've played with enough of them and against many of them. At lot of them play in Europe, so we know quite a lot about them," Rowntree said.

"They're capable of pulling off upsets and we saw that against Wales a couple of years ago. They've had our utmost respect."

England have no issue with Bath selecting wing Semesa Rokoduguni and centre Kyle Eastmond for Saturday's match at London Irish, despite them being overlooked for the Samoa game because of concussion and a hip injury respectively.

"We have to make decisions very early in the week because we need the right guys training in the right places," Rowntree said.


From Belfast Telegraph