Freddie Burns (centre) is upbeat about England's future
England fly-half Freddie Burns believes the performance in the 20-15 defeat to New Zealand on Saturday shows the RBS 6 Nations runners-up are in a good position moving forwards.
With a number of first-choice players unavailable, 24-year-old Burns kicked 12 points and Danny Cipriani, who made his first start for England in the 2008 RBS 6 Nations, kicked three but Conrad Smith's late try snatched victory for the world champions.
The fly-half thinks that England had opportunities to win the game but rather than dwell on the negatives, Burns is upbeat saying that England are only going to improve.
"First and foremost, we've proven that 15 months out from World Cup we've got real strength in depth in the squad. If we're making the decisions tough for the coaches, that's the healthiest position for England to be in," said Burns.
"All in all it was more of a positive night than a negative one. We're gutted with the result but it definitely helps us going forward.
"Now we've almost got to take a leaf out of their book. Out on the pitch it felt like we could [beat them], but they had that inner fight and just pipped us at the end. That's where we need to get to, but this has definitely helped us in a positive sense."
Wales' acting head coach Rob Howley has given Sam Davies and Rory Thornton a boost ahead of the RBS 6 Nations by naming the uncapped Ospreys duo in his largely experienced squad for the Autumn Internationals.