30 Nov 2008

England rugby players plead for patience

5:16 pm on 30 November 2008

England's rugby players have implored fans to give Martin Johnson's side time after a 32-6 loss to New Zealand rounded off a tough month of Twickenham Tests.

England's second-heaviest home defeat came hot on the heels of the previous week's record-breaking 42-6 thumping by world champions South Africa, itself preceded by Australia's 28-14 win.

Had not first five Dan Carter missed five of 11 goalkicks, the scale of New Zealand's seventh successive victory over England, a record for matches between the two countries, might have been greater still.

But after seeing the All Blacks wrap up their third grand slam flanker James Haskell insists his side will be much improved by the time of their next match, the Six Nations opener at home to Italy on February 7.

Haskell says the side has the passion and ability but building something new takes time.