Lancaster: We must learn from series loss
Tom Hamilton in Hamilton
June 22, 2014
Aaron Smith scored twice against England on Saturday © Getty Images
England coach Stuart Lancaster called on his side to learn from the sobering experience of losing the series 3-0 to the All Blacks.
England pushed the All Blacks close in the first Test at Eden Park but dominant spells saw the Kiwis win the next two in Dunedin and Hamilton. Saturday's third Test saw the All Blacks head into the break 29-6 to the good and England, despite an improved second-half performance, left themselves far too much to do.
Lancaster said their first-half performance "wasn't good enough" but as the England management and players now head off on a summer break, he wants the team to learn from their time in New Zealand ahead of their first Test in the autumn internationals which comes against, of all people, the All Blacks.
"What's important is that we take these lessons, the players get a decent rest as they've had a long season, particularly those who played on the back of the Lions they need a rest," Lancaster said. "It's about applying lessons and making sure the players are aware what is required to win at the highest level.
"We need to use the pre-season well and the start of the season to make sure the top end players are playing at the intensity they need to when we get to the New Zealand game we are hitting the ground running."
For Lancaster as he assessed their series on the day after the third Test the key difference between the two teams is the ability to execute game plans into points when under pressure. England played better in the second 40 against the All Blacks but still left two tries on the field. It was missed chances that cost England potential victories.
"In the first game it was nip and tuck throughout the whole game and I don't think side edged it one way or the other," Lancaster said. "In the second game there was a period when the All Blacks had the ascendency, but we had the ascendency in the first half and played some great rugby.
"The difference between the All Blacks and ourselves is when they have periods of ascendency they convert that into points. When we're in the same position, we perhaps didn't do that."
Looking forward, Lancaster also called for there to be never a repeat of the scheduling nightmare that saw England head into the Test series without a number of their top players. The staggered availability of the players meant Lancaster chopped and changed his team selections and he wants the various powers that be to ensure there is no repeat of those circumstances.
"We can all sit hear and talk about changes to the side, everyone in the know knows why those changes were made. So that scheduling issue has to be sorted and cannot be repeated. It is unfair on the players."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.
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