Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Lancaster to use pain of defeat

Stuart Lancaster will not let his players forget the pain they are feeling

Stuart Lancaster has vowed the crushing end to England's tour of New Zealand will motivate his players to ensure they never allow it to happen again.

A series that had been competitive across the first two Tests ended in a 36-13 mauling at the Waikato Stadium that gave the All Blacks a 3-0 whitewash and a record-equalling 17th successive victory.

The error-ridden first half was possibly the worst of Lancaster's reign and England must wait four months before they can make amends with New Zealand's visit to Twickenham launching their autumn schedule.

"We were beaten by a better team and this series has been challenging," Lancaster said.

"If anything, this defeat should fire a steely determination never to let it happen again.

"I'd be very surprised if there are any players who believe the loss has dented their self-belief to a point where they don't believe they can achieve.

"I'll ensure the players use it as strong motivation rather than allowing to it develop into a negative mindset."

Once the anguish over the climax to the series subsides, Lancaster will be able to draw pride from England's ability to challenge the All Blacks in the harshest of rugby environments.

Yet he will have returned home none the wiser over who should fill certain positions, the midfield and wings being the areas of most pressing concern.

Among those to impress were hooker Rob Webber, lock Geoff Parling, number eight Ben Morgan and wing Marland Yarde. Heading in the opposite direction are wings Jonny May and Chris Ashton and centre Billy Twelvetrees.

"We have definitely learnt a lot about the players and we have made some good progress throughout the course of the season," Lancaster said.

"What's happened here does not deviate from the overall objective of getting team ready for 2015.

"I wouldn't say some players have had their last chance, but certainly we've learnt who can consistently deliver at this level.

"Going through the backs, there's probably more decisions still to be made, there's no doubt about it.

"Centre-wise we had a consistent partnership in Luther Burrell and Billy Twelvetrees during the Six Nations and they played well.

"But it was a difficult task for Billy Twelvetrees to play in the second Test having been out for so long through injury.

"Brad Barritt I thought was excellent in that Crusaders game so he will come back in the equation.

"But I would still suggest wing is the position really where there's not many (All Blacks wing) Julian Saveas running round."

Captain Chris Robshaw enjoyed a solid series and was outstanding in Auckland, but Lancaster accepts openside is one of the areas where competition is at its weakest.

Kvesic performed well against the Crusaders on Tuesday with Lancaster highlighting the turnovers he produced, a shortcoming in Robshaw's game that needs addressing.

"We need more competition at seven, absolutely. I'm unequivocal in my mind in that regard," Lancaster said.

"Matt Kvesic delivered a performance against the Crusaders which was exactly the same as the performance he delivered in Argentina a year ago.

"The problem is we're not seeing that level of performance in a Gloucester shirt.

"I'm hoping he'll bottle that and the new coaching staff at Gloucester will get the best of him and he'll remain that consistent presence at the breakdown."

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