England bid to avoid three defeats in a row

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Tom Wood admits a third consecutive defeat when New Zealand arrive at Twickenham next Saturday would be “unacceptable” for England.

Narrow defeats to Australia and South Africa have left Stuart Lancaster’s young side facing the prospect of finishing their autumn campaign with just a solitary win against Fiji.

“We need to salvage something next week. Three losses would be pretty unacceptable and for all the good work we need to reinforce that with a win,” Wood said.

“To finish the autumn with three defeats would be pretty disappointing. We came out with high expectations. We have come very close and fallen short unfortunately.

“The South Africa result was really tough to take and the Australia result was tough to take because we felt we were right in the games and capable of winning them.”

The challenge facing England is immense, particularly given the acute disappointment they feel following a 16-15 defeat to the Springboks.

New Zealand are unbeaten in 23 matches and they have barely been tested on their stroll through Europe, cruising to a 33-10 victory over Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

England fell 16-6 down to a fortunate Willem Alberts try last weekend but their forward pack matched the Springbok physicality and built a platform to win the game. England’s backs lacked a killer instinct.