Rugby World Cup
England's Mike Brown: Southern sides cope better under pressure
Tom Hamilton
October 20, 2015
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England fullback Mike Brown says the northern hemisphere sides must work on their core skills if they are to close the gap on their southern counterparts.

Argentina, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand will contest for the two final spots in the 2015 Rugby World Cup in the first southern hemisphere whitewash of the tournament's semi-finals. All four northern hemisphere sides were dispatched over the weekend and Brown, who was one of the few to come out of England's dismal campaign with their reputation enhanced, says it is the standard of core skills which are the difference.

Brown said on BT Sport's Rugby Tonight: "There is a gap [between the north and south], the core skills that they are showing at the moment under pressure, playing at high speed and high tempo is what is setting them apart so we need to go away and work hard on those core skills."

Hansen: Too many foreign players in England

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen feels one of the chief reasons for the current gulf between the two hemispheres is down to the relationship between the clubs and the union. In New Zealand the central contracts sees the player's game time managed in accordance with their franchises and ensures the All Blacks are in fine fettle come the internationals.

Hansen also feels the abundance of foreigners in the top leagues -- specifically the Top 14 -- is also stunting the development of the home internationals.

However, World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper feels there isn't a gulf with small margins seeing the four southern sides dominating the semi-finals.

"Look, anyone could have won those games," Gosper said when asked about the difference between the hemispheres on Monday. "So I think if you drew that conclusion, I'd say it would probably be wrong. Whether it be Wales or Scotland, you could have seen two teams progress through.

Logan: England can learn from Scotland

Reflecting generally on the north's collective early World Cup exit, Gosper added: "I think they will look at all aspects of their own teams to see what led to this. They are all are very ambitious, obviously.

"All of those teams, and we saw it, were capable of getting into a semi-final, maybe even a final, so I think they will do their own individual reviews and find their own reasons for why they didn't go as far as their ambitions would like to take them.

"Whether that impacts the global season is another issue, but we are in conversations about the global season to see if it can be improved, to see if it can find a better balance than it currently has.

"It's not an easy process, and it's not easy to find the reconciliation of all interests, but we are trying to do that."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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