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England eye rugby world No.1 spot

Press AssociationPress Association 6/11/2016 Duncan Bech

Fullback Mike Brown hopes the momentum gathering behind England's bid to replace the All Blacks at the summit of world rugby will accelerate this autumn.

South Africa launch world No.2 England's home campaign on Saturday (Sunday AEDT), with Fiji, Argentina and Australia also visiting Twickenham on successive weekends.

Coach Eddie Jones transformed England from World Cup flops to grand slam champions and masters of the Wallabies, who were subdued 3-0 in June, in the space of six months.

Brown insists they are now commanding respect, with the team feeding off results that have lifted them to second in the world rankings.

"We are building some sort of aura. Teams can see what we are about and there is still so much more that we can achieve," Brown said.

"It's great if, externally, we build something and people realise that we are here, but in the squad it just builds confidence and keeps pushing us forward towards the ultimate prize, which is being No.1 in the world and winning World Cups.

"Whenever you are part of a team that keeps winning, you do get that momentum and get on a roll."

If all four visitors to Twickenham are dispatched over the coming weekends, England will have equalled their own record of 14 successive victories.

Jones has pieced together a nine-Test winning run since replacing Stuart Lancaster and has targeted a flawless record for 2016.

"It would be amazing if we did that. We want to win every game and we believe we can do that," Brown said.

"It would be amazing to do that but we are just focused on our next game, which is South Africa.

"That will be a huge challenge - we haven't beaten them for so long and no-one in our squad has ever beaten them.

"Eddie is looking at the bigger picture, but we are all fully focused on that first game."

All 34 players who trained in Portugal last week convened at the squad's Surrey training base on Sunday afternoon.

Lock Courtney Lawes will be given until Tuesday to prove his fitness from a knee injury, while Mako Vunipola was struggling early last week because of a hip problem.

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