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We proved England can reach top says Yarde

Wing ace Marland Yarde reckons England’s impressive Test series victory over Argentina has laid down a vital marker in the quest to become the world’s No.1 team.

A squad containing 17 uncapped players shocked the full-strength Pumas to win both matches, producing scintillating counter-attacking rugby along the way.

England’s ability to play at high tempo was equally impressive – something Red Rose supremo Eddie Jones has stressed they must do to surpass all-conquering New Zealand – and eight tries in two matches offered compelling evidence of their progress.

Yarde told The Rugby Paper: “We went to Argentina to win 2-0 and to do that with such a young team was a great feat and a true test of the character of our players.

“Argentina is a tough place to go and it was one of the more challenging tours I’ve been on in terms of the environment and with players needing to gel so quickly, but we worked hard before and during the tour and it was a happy camp.

“We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform and trained with an intensity that made the game a little easier. We always train above game speed and really wanted to challenge ourselves to play at high tempo and come through the second half of games strong.”

Yarde added: “We need to play at high tempo and not give defences a chance to rest. We want to keep on top of them all the time and be very dangerous off turnover ball because the best teams, especially New Zealand, score tries within just three phases.

“We’re trying to make sure that when we do win turnovers we are clinical. Although we perhaps didn’t create as many opportunities as Argentina did, when we did get chances we converted them into points and that was a massive plus for us over two matches.

“We showed the mental resolve to stay in games and then had the physical fitness, toughness and accuracy to grab both games in the final quarter and win them.”

With the likes of Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Mark Wilson, Piers Francis, Harry Williams, Will Collier and Charlie Ewels taking their chances to impress in the absence of stars on Lions duty, Jones now faces some huge selection issues ahead of the autumn series.

Yarde, said: “There’s so much competition for places and a lot of guys put their best foot forward in Argentina, which is great news for English rugby as a whole.

“Eddie’s got 60-70 players to choose from this autumn and competition is so high that you’ve always got to be on top of your game. There are good players coming through so it gives everyone a nudge that you’ve got to be as good as you can be.”

Yarde faces autumn competition from returning Lions wide men Anthony Watson, Jack Nowell and Elliot Daly.

However, buoyed by an encouraging showing in Argentina, the 25-year-old added: “The key message from Eddie is to make sure I keep pushing myself that extra one or two per cent.

“You must never settle for where you are and that’s been a massive learning curve for me under Eddie. I know he believes in me and wants me to do well, so it’s all about me working my backside off now to get to where I want to be.

“Everyone wants to be in the World Cup squad and there’s a massive season ahead, so I want to make sure I go back into pre-season at Harlequins and work hard to get in the best possible shape to put my hand up for the autumn.”

NEALE HARVEY

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