England's goal kicking conundrum

England's goal kicking conundrum

Two out of five attempts. Marcus Smith could only succeed with two kicks out of five and that is something England will need to look at.

Former New Zealand fly-half Evans, who now serves as attack coach at Smith's club Harlequins, knows the 25-year-old will be rightly frustrated by those misses in the one-point defeat, but wants to see him immediately switch focus to the second Test at Eden Park on July 13.

"How will he deal with those missed kicks? I'm sure I'll get a text, asking me about the game," Evans told Sky Sports.

"But that's the sign of a great player, someone who wants to challenge himself and get better. He's striving for that perfect game.

"He'll be hurting with that, and it's important he is, but immediately can you park that? What's your schedule and kicking routine during the week? Make sure you look at the review and go from there."

Despite some shakiness with the boot, Smith was solid with the ball in hand, beating five defenders and providing a superb pass for Immanuel Feyi-Waboso's 47th-minute try. He also came up with 11 tackles in defence with a 100 per cent success rate.

Former England centre and Sky Sports rugby union expert Will Greenwood was effusive in his praise of how Smith marshalled the team and did not believe his kicking troubles should mar his overall display.

"That confidence maybe of being the No 1 choice at fly-half - he was outstanding against Japan and again today," Greenwood said.

"People will talk about the missed kicks - that's a separate part to his game. Like a golfer he can go away and work on his own.

"As a collective, he would have been a joy to play outside as a centre or full-back."

Evans believes Smith's ability to not let the missed conversion and two missed penalties throw him off his game is a sign of a cool temperament which is so vital in a fly-half if they are to succeed at the highest level.

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