All Blacks with 14 were ‘exemplary’

Date published: November 8 2014

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Head coach Stuart Lancaster admitted a degree of frustration as again England fell within a score of the very best of the best.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster admitted a degree of frustration as again England fell within a score of the very best of the best.

“We’re very annoyed to be coming out with a loss when yet again we did enough work to walk away with a win. But credit to New Zealand in the way they managed that third quarter and the sin-binning. It was exemplary,” said Lancaster.

“Quite frankly they didn’t allow us to play for field position and pressured us in areas where we simply couldn’t get possession or territory.

“But on the plus side there were a lot of young guys out there with handfuls of caps playing against guys with wardrobes full of them.

“People like George Kruis who came on for three quarters of the game did amazingly well and Jonny May will be delighted at his first test score.

“But you have to look at our kicking today, which was poor by any measure and our game management which also wasn’t acceptable at this level.

“We put ourselves under pressure time and time again by playing rugby behind the half way line. Against New Zealand, who always have three deep defenders at the back, your kicking has to be pinpoint and our accuracy at times was lacking. A big factor was the sudden downpour.

“The All Blacks reacted better to this than we did and it was a big turning point in the game. But you can’t take away the way the youngsters played in the first half and credit to them for that.”

One of those youngsters, Jonny May, a surprise selection on England’s wing, produced the moment of the match when he galloped past Conrad Smith and Israel Dagg to open the scoring.

“It was good enough to be playing against the All Blacks at home but that was just the icing on the cake,” grinned the young Gloucester man.

“In terms of my progression that was a demon off my back as it was my first test try, but still, I’m feeling a little down and disappointed after we failed to close the game down in the second half.”

As England prepare to host the Springboks in what will prove to be a titanic battle of gainline power, Stuart Lancaster promised a degree of pragmatic introspection leading up to next weekend’s Test.

“Already there’s a lot of talk about tries that weren’t or were, TMO interventions and so on. But the first thing we need to do is to be honest with ourselves and control the things we can control. A game of rugby never turns on one decision, but more so a series of decisions,” added Lancaster.

“The key to winning consistently is to manage as many of those your way as you can and that word ‘honesty’ is the absolute key to that.”

by James While

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