Alex Coles insists England believe they can beat New Zealand after narrow loss

England second row Alex Coles believes a famous victory at Eden Park is there for the taking if greater accuracy is shown in the second Test against New Zealand.

Steve Borthwick’s men opened the series with a spirited 16-15 defeat in Dunedin that left them reflecting on how they allowed a rare opportunity to triumph on Kiwi soil slip from their grasp.

Marcus Smith missed two penalties and a conversion, there were vulnerabilities at the scrum and breakdown and the replacements bench were unable to make an impact, yet England still led 15-10 heading into the final quarter.

“It was such fine margins so it’s about how can we get five per cent more in our advantage so we get that extra bit of territory or don’t give a penalty away,” Coles told BBC Sport.

“It’s actually really small things, there is no quick fix. There wasn’t anything underlying really that let us down, but a few things here and there.

“As a whole our gameplan went well and has given us belief that we can be really successful and it’s just can we execute that a little bit better.”

New Zealand have a fearsome record at Eden Park having not lost at their Auckland stronghold since 1994, a sequence spanning 49 Tests.

“We’re not shying away from the fact they have this record, but it’s not playing too much of a part in our preparation,” Coles said.

“As a team we’re not going to focus on that too much. We just have to go out there and do our gameplan a little bit better.”

England have named their sides for each of their two previous tour matches 48 hours early, but they could revert to the customary Thursday slot for the final fixture of the season as Borthwick works out the details of his team selection.

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