We’re not far away – Lancaster

Date published: November 9 2014

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Test rugby is a game a fine margins and Stuart Lancaster was left to rue another narrow defeat at the hands of the All Blacks on Saturday.

Test rugby is a game a fine margins and Stuart Lancaster was left to rue another narrow defeat at the hands of the All Blacks on Saturday.

England started with a bang – as Jonny May opened the scoring in just the fourth minute with his maiden Test try – and led 14-11 at half-time.

But New Zealand hit back with second-half tries from captain Richie McCaw and replacement forward Charlie Faumuina before a late penalty try saw England narrow the final score.

Despite being a man down for 10 minutes when hooker Dane Coles was sin-binned in the 57th minute, the vastly more experienced All Blacks out-scored 2015 World Cup hosts 3-0 in that period, which proved to be pivotal.

The result was England’s fifth successive defeat to New Zealand.

Lancaster, without seven British and Irish Lions, was neverthless encouraged by the way his injury-hit side performed.

“We’ve played them four times now this year and we haven’t got the right result but we don’t feel we’re far away,” said the England boss.

“We’ve got some good players watching the game today so we’ll keep our confidence and maintain the direction in which we’re going.

“The All Blacks have played eight games and two-and-a-half months together since we last played them and I thought we put them under pressure.

“We created opportunities in attack but obviously there’s a period of play they constructed that shows why they have the experience to close out a game like that.

“That’s what we’ve got to get.”

Next weekend, England face South Africa at Twickenham. The Springboks – who suffered a shock 29-15 loss to Ireland in Dublin later on Saturday – remain the only major side Lancaster’s England have yet to beat and recently ended the All Blacks’ 22-match unbeaten run.

“Now we’re playing the number two side in the world, who have beaten the number one side in the world, so the challenge is just as big next week,” said Lancaster.

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