3 Dec 2008

IAndrew pleads for England patience

6:46 am on 3 December 2008

England's elite rugby director Rob Andrew insists the team is engaged in a "long-term" project after crushing losses to Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

Although England's performances under new manager Martin Johnson suggest a huge gap between them and with the Tri Nations Andrew says now is not the time to pass judgment.

He says England's at the start of a three year project and that's why Johnson's contract runs until after the World Cup.

Andrew says the All Blacks had 647 test caps compared with England's 275 and there isn't another team that's lost 10 players from a World Cup final,

However, England didn't select experienced players such as Josh Lewsey, Danny Grewcock, Mike Tindall and Andy Gomarsall.

They did complete an Under-20 Six Nations grand slam this year though before reaching the final of the Under-20 World Cup, where they lost to New Zealand.