Where do England need to improve to beat All Blacks?

England started their Summer Series with a comfortable 52-17 victory over Eddie Jones' Japan in hot and humid Tokyo conditions.

The Brave Blossoms dominated the early exchanges but failed to take their chances and were punished by England, who ran in four tries in each half.

Lock Charlie Ewels was sent off in the second half for a dangerous clearout and England's attack lacked cohesion at times.

But the performance did have plenty of positives, with fly-half Marcus Smith impressing before the two-Test series against New Zealand in July.

So what needs to improve to defeat the All Blacks and secure a first away win in New Zealand since 2003?

An attacking start

Jones' first game back in charge of Japan started perfectly when his side took an early lead through a penalty from Seungsin Lee.

The Brave Blossoms' high attacking tempo caused England plenty of problems in the opening quarter, but Japan were unable to convert numerous try-scoring opportunities.

During this year's Six Nations England trailed at half-time in each of their five matches and that will have to change against the All Blacks.

One of New Zealand's biggest strengths is to blow teams away with quick tries, as shown in their World Cup quarter-final victory over Ireland when they raced into a 13-point lead after the opening quarter.

"The focus will be starting the game better in New Zealand," former England wing Chris Ashton told BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra.

"Japan controlled the start but didn't take their chances, that won't happen against the All Blacks."

Defensive discipline

England defence coach Felix Jones, who helped coach the Springboks to back-to-back World Cups, helped deploy a successful blitz-system during his first Six Nations campaign.

The system took time to embed and early mistakes were exploited, but things clicked in round four as Ireland's potent attack was well managed in England's victory at Twickenham.

The Brave Blossoms fielded a young side and their inexperience showed with their failure to convert their initial breaks, although England's scramble defence on their own line showed plenty of heart in stopping them.

Japan finally scored two late tries as they took advantage of England's fatigue and changing line-up.

New Zealand's backline is full of World Cup finalists who only need half a chance, so England's defence will need to be water-tight for the full 80 minutes of both Tests.

Keeping a full complement of players will also be vital if Borthwick's side are to win in New Zealand for the first time since 2003.

Their discipline has improved since three red cards across the World Cup warm-up matches and opening pool victory over Argentina, but in addition to Ewels' red for a dangerous clearout tackle, Smith was sent to the sin-bin for an illegal tackle.

"We will need to go up several levels and I expect us to go up several levels when we face New Zealand," Borthwick said.

"As will the discipline. You can’t give that many penalties away, we know that. You also can't give New Zealand the space we gave Japan."

Smith's creativity in attack

England were often criticised during the World Cup and the start of this year’s Six Nations for not producing enough cutting edge in attack.

Pragmatic game management was seemingly preferred to running intent.

There appeared to be a shift in approach in the win over Ireland and that fluency continued against France, but Marcus Smith was tasked with leading the attack from fly-half in Tokyo with the injured George Ford unavailable.

Smith ran, passed and kicked with aplomb against Japan, albeit a side including four debutants.

His try followed a move indicative of an England side trying to play with more creativity.

The line-out was thrown long for Ollie Lawrence to charge at the Brave Blossoms, but the ball was moved to Alex Mitchell before the centre took contact. The scrum-half had to adjust slightly to gather possession but he had control in time to feed an onrushing Smith to glide through and sidestep the final defender to score.

Highlights of the try showed the camera pan to England attack coach Richard Wigglesworth shouting "Go Marcus!" in a move he had influence on drawing up.

Smith then turned provider, first with a delayed pass to allow Immanuel Feyi-Waboso to cross in the corner before launching a cross-field kick against the run of play for Henry Slade to gather and score.

Smith has seemingly been given licence to play what is in front of him, kicking to score tries rather than the formerly favoured kicking for territory.

England will have to show creativity if they are to penetrate the All Blacks' stout defence, and Smith has shown signs that he is up to the challenge.

Source: BBC