Owen Farrell believes England are growing all the time and insists the team want to peak at the World Cup after their agonising defeat to New Zealand at Twickenham.
Eddie Jones’ side were on course for a shock home win over the All Blacks after taking a 15-0 lead in the first half but the world champions recovered to edge to a tense 16-15 victory.
It was a significant step in the right direction for England despite the defeat and co-captain Farrell is adamant the team are moving forward after a difficult 12 months with next year’s World Cup on the horizon.
Farrell said: “I feel like we’re growing all the time. I don’t think we want it all smooth sailing because we want to peak in 2019.
“Of course we want to do well now and win now. That’s exactly what we want to do and that’s the people we are but we can use this now.
“We’ve played ok and there’s a lot to work on but we’re pushing some of the best teams now and as we’ve said before we want to be the best so we’ll use it now.”
For the second week in a row, there was late drama but it went against England this time after Sam Underhill’s try was ruled out for an offside by Courtney Lawes.
England escaped last week after Farrell was not penalised for a contentious tackle at the end of their 12-11 win over South Africa and Jones had no complaints after the ruling against the All Blacks.
The England head coach said: “The TMO made a decision. Sometimes the game loves you and sometimes it doesn’t. It loved us last week and doesn’t this week so we take the good with the bad but I’m so proud of my players.
“We had a team out there with 400 caps and they had a team with in excess of 800 caps. We really stuck it to them and they were the better team and deserved the win but it’s a step forward for us.”