For Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney the recipe is simple heading towards the first test against England on Monday.

His team needs to lift their game substantially - and quickly.

In the wake of the Kiwis' patchy performance against Leeds last Saturday, Kearney and the coaching staff have a lot of work to do over the next few days. If the Kiwis replicate their first half Headingley display in the first test - where easy passes were dropped, tackles were missed and timing was often out - they'll be in trouble against an England team that have grown considerably over the past few years.

The core of the English squad has been together for some time and they have plenty of big names even without the likes of Sam Burgess, George Burgess, Jack Reed et al.


"We understand that we are going to have to really improve in a number of areas from the performance against Leeds," said Kearney. "We will go further ahead in our preparation over the next few days just because of that."

Kearney was critical of the Kiwis' defensive application and urgency at times against Leeds - "we let them dictate the play too much" - as well as the fractured nature of the attack for the first 60 minutes at Headingley.

"We lacked a bit of flow in attack, a fair bit of ball went down when [Issac Luke] was getting out of dummy half [and] we didn't have a lot of clean football or momentum in the first half."

The Kiwis are based in Perpignan until Wednesday (Thursday NZT), with Kearney opting to break up the tour with the sojourn to France. It's probably the right idea - as spending eight or nine days in Hull isn't really advisable - but does add to the travel load with the Kiwis spending half a day travelling on both legs of the trip.

Meanwhile, England will continue their preparations at their base in Burton-upon-Trent, a state of the art facility also used by all the English football teams.

"It's got everything you could think of and there is nothing you would want for," said Sam Tomkins. "It's great to be there but not exactly fun or relaxing...we are working very hard."

England beat France 84-4 on Sunday in their final hit out before the Kiwis' series. It was embarrassingly one sided, with England at one stage scoring from seven consecutive sets, against the European team that were missing 12 players through injuries or withdrawals. It's hard to draw too many conclusions from the match - which wasn't a contest - but England's combinations looked very slick and Bateman was particularly impressive on debut.

- By Michael Burgess in England