TOM WOOD has revealed that England have circled the wagons in response to the criticism that has engulfed the squad during a disappointing autumn.
Australia close the QBE Series at Twickenham today with victory imperative for both teams as they seek to emerge from their respective slumps before meeting again in the group stage of next year's World Cup.
Wood believes the reaction to the defeats by New Zealand and South Africa and flawed victory over Samoa has been unwarranted.
"We had a huddle immediately after South Africa when the result went against us and that's when we battened down the hatches a little bit," Wood said.
"We said 'we're going to come in for some flack here, the fingers are going to be pointed at individuals, scrutiny's going to go up, everything's going to be related to the World Cup, so let's pull tight and look inwards'.
"The job for pundits and so-called experts is to sensationalise everything and build everything up and ask 'what does it all mean?'.
"For us it's the opposite. It's to level out all the peaks and troughs.
"If we lose by three, it's not the end of the world, we don't all go on suicide watch.
"We don't feel we're a million miles away. We do have to improve in certain areas, of course we do. But we haven't become bad players overnight.
"The team that played in the Six Nations and everyone was so excited about hasn't disappeared.
"If we've underperformed so gravely yet have only lost by three points to the two top teams, then it'll be interesting to see what happens when we get it right."