England not in NZ to 'sit and moan'

Date published: May 29 2014

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England head coach Stuart Lancaster was bullish about his weakened squad's prospects after arriving in New Zealand on Thursday.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster was bullish about his weakened squad's prospects after arriving in New Zealand on Thursday.

Lancaster will be without the services of a number of crucial players who are taking part in the Aviva Premiership Final, including Owen Farrell, Tom Wood, Billy Vunipola and Courtney Lawes.

However, Lancaster refused to use it as an excuse, expressing confidence in the group that has arrived in Auckland and includes the star Harlequins trio of Mike Brown, Danny Care and captain Chris Robshaw.

“It's not ideal when you come to play the world champions in their own backyard and you haven't got your best side available. But it's a situation I inherited,” said Lancaster at a press conference after arriving in Auckland via Los Angeles.

“We're not going to sit and moan about it. When you look at the side we've got available for this first test, virtually everyone has played international rugby in the last 12 months.

“We're confident in the lads we've got and it will just add to my selection problems when [the other players] come out for the second test.

“A lot of the players here have played the All Blacks twice now, and got a good win in 2012. They're looking forward to pitching selves against the best again.”

Lancaster also addressed the fly-half role, with Farrell unavailable leaving Danny Cipriani or Freddie Burns in line to start at Eden Park.

“Freddie hasn't had such a great club season, but he's always delivered for us, and certainly he's got a fantastic opportunity now to really lay a marker down.

“He's moving to Leicester and this could be a great start for him going into next season.

“Danny is completely different. He's played seven times for England but never on my watch.

“But I've coached him more than most, with the Saxons, he's had a good club seasons with Sale, worked hard off the field to become a good team player and as a consequence I feel confident in giving him the opportunity.”

Lancaster is reportedly set to attend Eden Park on Saturday to watch the Blues face the Hurricanes.

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