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England on revenge mission - Lancaster


Stuart Lancaster says England must work on their composure

Stuart Lancaster says England must work on their composure

Stuart Lancaster says England must work on their composure

England head coach Stuart Lancaster claims his players already have their minds set on revenge after their narrow first Test loss to South Africa.

Lancaster's side were edged out 22-17 by the Springboks in the opening game of their three-match series at Durban's Kings Park. The challenge now gets tougher with the second Test taking place at altitude in Johannesburg and the Springboks' limited preparation time no longer a factor, but Lancaster insists players are far from disheartened.

He said: "The boys are disappointed because they lost. They want to win, that is the primary emotion at the moment. They are not downcast and they are feeling there is no chance of turning up next week and not winning. If anything, this will be their motivation to right the wrongs we did in this game."

He added: "When we look back on it, at half-time we were definitely in a positive mindset and we felt we had the better of the first half, even though it was only 6-6. The boys are certainly very positive and the good thing is we have already seen one or two areas we can fix up. The players are talking about it already and that is a good sign."

England fought hard in the first half and twice led with Owen Farrell penalties but both were cancelled out by Morne Steyn. The Springboks upped the tempo after the break and relentless pressure eventually told as Steyn and new captain Jean de Villiers broke through for tries.

England responded with two more Farrell penalties but another two from Steyn put the game beyond them despite an impressive late consolation from Ben Foden in the corner.

Lancaster said: "I don't recollect too many clear-cut chances that we created but we definitely created some and put pressure on the Springboks. But they defend with pretty much everyone in the line, it is hard to break them down.

"Composure was probably the key word that we need to work on - make sure we play in the right place at the right time but, equally, when we have got opportunities to get the ball off the field we get it off the field."

Lancaster has transformed the national side after last year's dismal World Cup and feels the new faces he has introduced will be better for the experience.

Forwards Joe Marler and Tom Johnson both worked hard on debut while full-back Mike Brown shone on his return to the starting line-up, although he has a thumb injury which will be assessed. South Africa-born centre Brad Barritt is England's other injury concern after leaving the field in the second half with a facial injury.