Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

We have to take our chances - Lancaster

Stuart Lancaster wants his players to learn from their defeat to Australia

England head coach Stuart Lancaster insists England must learn the lessons of life at the top level of Test rugby after his side were beaten 20-14 by Australia at Twickenham.

A Manu Tuilagi try and three Toby Flood penalties saw England lead 14-11 at half-time before full-back Berrick Barnes kicked three second-half penalties to wrest back the Cook Cup for the visitors, who bounced back from their thrashing by France last weekend in some style.

"I'm disappointed we lost but I thought Australia played a smart game and bounced back from their defeat against France last week and were competitive in all areas," said Lancaster. "There were lots of positives from our own performance but the reality is we needed to take the opportunities we created, especially in the last 20 minutes when we thought our tempo would pay."

He added: "They are the lessons we have to learn for South Africa next week."

Some of those opportunities were squandered when England twice took decisions in the second half to tap and go or kick for touch with penalties rather than kick for goal.

However, Lancaster backed his players, saying: "We'll look at every decision but with the momentum at the time I thought it was the right decision. You back your players on the field. The momentum was with us and I thought from there we were going to score a try.

"If we are going to give players the confidence to go out and play then we have to back them. We have areas to work on, but there was lots of intent to play. It was just little bits of execution towards the end of each phase that put us under pressure."

Australia head coach Robbie Deans said: "It was much better than last week (against France) and obviously it had to be. A big part of the adjustment was mental. Paris is a bit alluring but in Tests you have to turn up or you get blown away.

"The lads defended very well because England threw a lot at them. The boys had a lot of faith in the defensive line and I think that showed. I think we went a bit defensive in the last 10 but that was indicative of the confidence they had and their ability to hold their line.

"Any result at Twickenham is significant, it doesn't come easily here. I'm pleased for the lads."

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