They have improved but by how much is questionable. Still don't win many games they are not expected to. Beat France and Italy last year not sure that's much to shout about. The performance v Oz in RWC papered over lot of cracks. They were hammered by SA in pool and only scraped past Samoa to qualify.
I think they are massive underachievers for the quality of player they have now. I'd expect Townsend to bring about a big improvement