Cool approach from Lancaster

Date published: November 11 2013

Stuart Lancaster kept his cool ahead of their clash with New Zealand after Steve Hansen suggested 2012's loss owed much to illness.

Stuart Lancaster kept his cool ahead of Saturday's clash with New Zealand after Steve Hansen suggested last year's loss owed much to illness.

In the best result of Lancaster's England reign, the home side overcame the All Blacks by a record 38-21 at Twickenham last December.

However, several members of the New Zealand squad had been struck down with a virus earlier that week, with Hansen reiterating that in Paris.

“We didn't have enough energy to compete with the English. We're hoping we don't get a virus again,” Hansen admitted following the victory.

However, Lancaster responded Monday by saying: “All I can control last year was our performance and I feel we performed well.

“It's a different New Zealand team we're facing this time. What happened last year is irrelevant,” added Lancaster, whose England side will be looking to complete their 10th win in 11 matches on Saturday.

“I'm sure they (New Zealand) will be motivated to play this game, they have an outstanding record this season and will be keen to finish off this northern hemisphere tour with two wins (against England and Ireland).”

New Zealand have lost just once in 33 matches – to England at Twickenham last year – since August 2011.

“It's an unbelievable record, not just over this season but since the last World Cup,” an admiring Lancaster said of the All Blacks who, having won all 13 of their Tests so far in 2013, are eyeing a perfect record for the calendar year.

“There's certainly been no drop off in standards since the World Cup.

“If anything, they've gone up another level. They are rightfully number one in the world.”