Planet Rugby

Lancaster credits SA experience

05th February 2013 10:21


SKY_MOBILE Stuart Lancaster - England - 23/1/13

Clear headed: Stuart Lancaster

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has said that England will be better prepared for their trip to Ireland than two years ago.

The side then coached by Martin Johnson fell short at the final hurdle in their quest for a Grand Slam, but Lancaster believes the experience of England's tour of South Africa last year will benefit them in Dublin.

"This is a completely different team going to Dublin from 2011, with a different mentality," said Lancaster.

"That said, playing the Irish in Dublin is a unique challenge. We've got to be able to deal with the emotion of the occasion and still think clearly, making good, accurate decisions.

"That will be the true test of our maturity. It's a great challenge for us.

"Experiences like Johannesburg have definitely made us stronger. In all three of the Tests in South Africa the players learned some lessons about what it takes to get there - we all did.

"Mentally, we've got to be in the right place but that comes from the confidence we build in training."

Lancaster has a crucial decision to make over his midfield combination in the next few days, after Billy Twelvetrees impressed on debut against Scotland and Manu Tuilagi returned to fitness.

"I watched Manu through the course of last week; I could see he was back to running and changing direction," added Lancaster.

"He has missed a few games, but I'm confident we'll be able to use him after a full week's training.

"Billy played well against Scotland and Brad's contribution as always was positive, but Manu brings a unique set of skills and attributes to the game and the team, as we saw in his performance against the All Blacks."

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