England full-back Sam Tomkins claims the group will be stronger as a result of their last-gasp loss to New Zealand in the World Cup semi finals.
The 24-year-old was trying to remain positive after watching Shaun Johnson score and convert a try in the dying seconds of the game to snatch victory from the English and send them packing.
“I’m absolutely devastated,” said Tomkins.
“To lose in the dying seconds like that is absolutely gutting. That’s sport, sometimes it doesn’t quite go your way, I’ve been in
games where we’ve won them like that as well.
“As gutted as I am, I think this group will be stronger for it.
“We need to look at games like this and realise England need to be playing internationals against the best in the world,” he added.
“We need more tough Tests, we are only going to get better that way.
“The Aussies and Kiwis are playing each other mid-season, whereas we have a year off when we are playing Wales and the like and it doesn’t help us.
“We’re not as consistent as we can be or should be but in big games we’ve proved that we can compete.
“We competed with the Aussies for the majority of the game and then slipped away and on Saturday it was literally the last seconds. It could have gone either way.
“I think we’re in a great position. The structures we’ve got in place with the England Knights and the ETS (England training squad) tick along nicely and they are going to go from strength to strength.
“Come the next World Cup, hopefully we’re bigger, better, stronger, faster and we’ll do something special then.”