English Rugby
Cueto lays down gauntlet to England
July 7, 2010
England wing Mark Cueto looks for space, Australia v England, NZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia, June 19, 2010
Mark Cueto has challenged England to kick on © Getty Images

England wing Mark Cueto has challenged his team-mates to lay down a marker a year out from the Rugby World Cup by shining in their November Tests.

England finished their season on a high by defeating Australia 21-20 in Sydney last month, bouncing back from a disappointing first Test loss in Perth, and Cueto has demanded that the result is not wasted when the Wallabies, New Zealand and South Africa arrive at Twickenham in the autumn.

"What has let us down in the past has been stringing together back-to-back performances," he said. "In an ideal world the autumn internationals would have come the week after we beat Australia because on the back of a result like that you feel like you can play and defeat anyone.

"It would be awesome with the World Cup a year away to get four big results at home. We have to have that mentality, especially at Twickenham, and it's in November that we'll have a better idea of where we are. We always knew that we had the potential and we also have belief in what we're trying to do. Beating Australia confirmed what we already believed and has allowed us to gain more confidence."

England's win was inspired by a generation of young players who had previously been given short shrift at Test level. Youngsters Ben Youngs and Chris Ashton were to the fore with tries while Northampton's Courtney Lawes came to the party up front.

"There are a few young guys who have come through and shone on tour, the likes of Ben Youngs and Courtney Lawes," Cueto said. "They did very well for their clubs last season and have taken that confidence into the England set-up. They've added freshness to the team and the team has benefited from that. When these young players get involved there's almost no fear and that's been important."

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