Probably the most pleasing aspect of last week’s victory over Fiji was the performance of three of our least experienced players.
Alex Goode, Charlie Sharples and debutant Tom Youngs were all outstanding.
To have young guys come in and play so well must be hugely encouraging for Stuart Lancaster as it underlines the strength in depth at his disposal.
Even though we won the first of the QBE Internationals comfortably there is no complacency in the England camp.
We know we will be in for much sterner tests over the next three weeks, starting today against Australia. The Australians will be far better organised than Fiji, having been together as a group since June, with 11 matches under their belts as they approach the end of their season.
While they didn’t perform well last week against the French, in their previous match they held New Zealand to a draw so I wouldn’t write them off.
I also believe the Australians will raise their game when they face us as we are long-standing sporting adversaries with a history of good-natured rivalry between our two countries and we are probably the nation they least like losing to.
There has always been a role for sports science in the professional game. Until recently the main focus was on nutrition.
Experts advise us on diet, supplementation and hydration. We have regular blood tests to check for vitamin and mineral deficiencies and are given diet plans based on our blood type.
We are given individual supplementation strategies tailored to our specific requirements.
Also we take regular hydration tests, as it is proven that dehydration has an extremely negative effect on performance. Before training sessions and matches we drink isotonic drinks such as Lucozade Sport, which hydrate the body better than water, as well as providing much needed fuel for the muscles.
Advancements in technology are allowing sports scientists to collect data from live events.
We now wear GPS monitors and heart-rate belts for every training session and some of us for matches.
This allows the coaches to monitor how far and how fast we run, as well as how hard we are working in both training and games.
With this information they can plan sessions which replicate game intensity, monitor our fitness and training load for the week.
There is nowhere to hide, if you’re not working you will be found out.
This week I was the guinea pig for a new piece of kit which the medical team have got hold of. I had sensors strapped to each shin during one of our lineout sessions.
The point of the experiment was to record the forces and loads to which I am subjected as I am repeatedly dropped from a height of about five foot.
The sensors also detected if I was landing evenly on both feet or whether one leg was being loaded more – which would highlight a risk of potential injury. I’m sure the results will be quite interesting.
Lucozade Sport is the official sports drink of England Rugby and we are rewarding amateur players with their very own England Call Up this Autumn. Nominate the player from your club whose performances most deserve it and they could win a pair of tickets to watch England at Twickenham. Visit www.lucozade.com/Englandcallup
Follow Tom on Twitter @TomPalmer79