England legend Jason Leonard has backed 19-year-old Mathew Tait to bounce back from his baptism of fire against Wales on Saturday.
The Newcastle Falcons centre made his international debut at the Millennium Stadium in England's narrow 11-9 defeat, and was substituted after 59 minutes after being on the receiving end of a number of heavy tackles.
Tait had little chance to display his exceptional running and handling skills, as opposing centres Tom Shanklin and Gavin Henson, closed down his space and effectively snuffed out his threat.
Henson in particular seemed to make a point of targeting Tait - putting in a match-defining hit in each half and going outside the young Falcon with one searing first-half break.
But Leonard - the holder of a world record 114 international caps - believes Tait will learn from the experienece and come back a better player.
"Mathew is a confident young man and he has what it takes to make it as an international rugby player," Leonard said.
"He showed glimpses in the game of what he is capable of, and nobody smashed through him in defence.
"One thing is for sure, that under Andy Robinson, this whole England team will learn a lot from the experience."
Leonard is confident that Andy Robinson and his team will regroup and put in a much improved performance against France - who were also well below par in beating Scotland in Paris - at Twickenham on Sunday.
"England don't tend to play badly twice running - although in fairness neither do France - but I would never bet against England at Twickenham," Leonard added.
The 2017 RBS 6 Nations was watched by record numbers of fans
29 March 2017, 12:25pm
After an enthralling RBS 6 Nations Championship of twists, turns, and no small amount of drama on the last day, figures show the RBS 6 Nations is going from strength to strength, year on year, with no sign of slowing down.