England head coach Stuart Lancaster closed the file on a successful tour of South America and stamped it: Mission Accomplished.
Lancaster described the 2-0 Test series victory over Argentina as a “critical” staging post in England’s development towards the 2015 Rugby World Cup on home soil.
Not only did Lancaster’s young England side deliver the results but he has also developed the strength in depth he was after, with Matt Kvesic, Christian Wade, Marland Yarde and Kyle Eastmond all proving they are ready for Test rugby.
When Lancaster boarded his flight to Australia today, he will have sat comfortably in the belief that England are on the right track to mount a successful World Cup challenge.
He said: “It’s a pleasing step forward. This tour was always going to be critical in our development towards 2015 because it gave the opportunity to bring other players through.
“It gives me confidence and also reassurance that the direction we are going in is the right one. I was always confident that we had quality players coming through the pipeline. They have played in big games in the Premiership and in Europe and now they are making the step from club to country.
“I want to create an England team where everyone feels comfortable in coming into and playing whether it is your first cap or your 31st cap.
“It was really pleasing to see people come into the team, slot in straight away and look like they had been part of the team for a long time.
“One of our goals was to win all four games on tour, including the Barbarians game. Objective one achieved.
“Objective two was to develop other options and look at increasing our selection decisions, which has also been achieved.”
This time next year, Lancaster wants England, currently fourth, to go on their three-Test tour of New Zealand ranked as one of the top two nations in the world.
His next task is to select the senior and Saxons elite squads for the forthcoming season, a task that is considerably tougher now than it was in January.