Last Updated: 18/08/19 11:44pm
Ken Owens says Wales must not drop their standards after victory against England in the lead-up to the World Cup saw them top the world rankings for the first time.
Wales defeated England 13-6 at the Principality Stadium on Saturday to avenge their defeat against Eddie Jones’ men at Twickenham last weekend.
The Six Nations champions ended New Zealand’s unbroken 10-year reign as rugby union’s world No 1with victory in the World Cup warm-up, with less than five weeks to go before the tournament begins in Japan.
Despite Wales having won 15 of their last 16 Tests, Owens joined head coach Warren Gatland in urging his team-mates to retain their focus.
“I would prefer to be there (number one) at the start of November (when the World Cup ends), but it is now just a table and something to talk about,” Wales hooker Owens said.
“We were a lot better this week,” he added, in reference to Wales’ 33-19 defeat to England at Twickenham last Sunday.
“We spoke about the need to start a lot better. The first 20 minutes last week cost us the game. We spoke about our line speed defensively and our accuracy in attack, and I think we delivered that.
“We dug in and got the job done. We delivered, which is a huge tick in the box for us.
“We have got to be on the money now. We’ve had probably our poor performance out of the system, that slow start people talk about, and we have got to keep building and improving. We can’t let that standard drop.”
Wales, who extended their unbeaten home record to 11 games which stretches back to November 2017, will now finalise their World Cup preparations with games home and away against Ireland before a warm-weather training camp in Turkey.
“There were lots of pressure moments out there, especially towards the last five or 10 minutes,” Owens added.
“In fairness, the boys came up with some big plays. Dillon Lewis turned a maul over, which is a big strength of England’s.
“It (Turkey) is a good nine days to get away and get a little bit more training in away from everything.
“We can just concentrate on the rugby again and get our combinations working and get more time on the training field in full rugby situations. We want to get ready to peak for the two games against Ireland to come.”