Lancaster - 'I won't sit and moan about schedule'
May 30, 2014
Stuart Lancaster in the firing line within hours of landing in New Zealand © Getty Images
No sooner had Stuart Lancaster and the first instalment of his England squad landed in New Zealand than they were facing questions about the timing of the Test series and the strength of the players available to him.
One his predecessors, Sir Clive Woodward, stirred the pot earlier in the week by slamming what he described as "the biggest cock-up since the 'Tour from Hell' in 1998".
"It's not ideal when you come to play the world champions in their own back yard and you don't have your best side available," Lancaster said in his first press conference in Auckland. "But it's a situation I inherited. The scheduling is done way in advance so we're not going to sit and moan about it.
"We wouldn't come out here if we didn't believe we could [be competitive] but we're very, very respectful of the opposition we're playing. If you don't believe in yourself and you don't believe in the players then you'll never believe."
He also admitted that there was fence-mending to be done after England's last visit to the country at the 2011 World Cup was overshadowed by some poor off-field behaviour. "We've got ground to make up over here," he said. "We're not going to say anything different. We've got a reputation to recover and we want to come back to England as ambassadors for our country."
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