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Danny Care is convinced England will improve in time for the second Test against Australia but calls for patience when judging the slow progress made in developing their attack.
Care’s comeback after four years in international exile was spoilt by a 30-28 defeat by the 14-man Wallabies in Perth that saw Eddie Jones’ tourists implode in the final quarter by surrendering a 14-9 lead.
A recurring theme since reaching the 2019 World Cup final has been England’s toothless attack and beyond a bright start that shortcoming remained evident at the Optus Stadium.
Jones is attempting to implement a new offensive gameplan directed by Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith that focuses on playing with the ball in hand, but Care acknowledges that it is a work in progress.
“It takes time. You can’t just instantly be a brilliantly attack team,” said the Harlequins half-back ahead of Saturday’s second Test in Brisbane.
“We’ve got different characters in the squad and different team mentalities that we’re trying to bring into one team.
“The new England type of attack wants to be an all court game. We want to be able to play from anywhere.
“We ran out of our own half a couple of times, we kicked, we exited differently. But we want to play quickly, we want to be confrontational.
“We have some great ball playing forwards who can batter the door down and then we’re not bad at 12 with Owen. And with Marcus, we’re trying to get that connection going.
“If we can get that going, get some quicker ball on the front foot, hopefully that’s how we will play.
“We lost the game so ultimately we’ve got to look at ourselves and see how we get better. The exciting thing is that we know we can be a lot better. We’re desperate to get back out there and show that.”
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) July 2, 2022
The loss at Optus Stadium was England’s fourth in a row including the rout by the Barbarians a fortnight earlier, in which they also suffered a meltdown against 14-man opposition.
“I wouldn’t say we’re in a hole. It’s a little bump. Six years ago we had amazing success here in Australia to win the series 3-0, but those games could have gone either way,” Care said.
“The first one this time has gone their way and we’ll do everything we can to tie it up and take it to a decider.
“The confidence is there in the squad. I’ve probably never been in a team that has felt as together as this team. Off the field it is incredibly tight.
“It’s going to take time to gel and to mould and to work out exactly the way we want to play and put that on the pitch. Hopefully when it does it will be special.
“At times in the first Test we were nearly about to cut loose but Australia railed us in. But hopefully when it comes it will be special to watch.”
Flanker Tom Curry is a doubt for the second Test after failing to reappear after undergoing an HIA.