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Lancaster wants a focused England

Stuart Lancaster called for cool heads and clear thinking as England attempt to end a decade of autumn misery against world champions New Zealand on Saturday.

The All Blacks are on a 20-Test unbeaten run and they will arrive at Twickenham with an air of invincibility that can leave some teams beaten before kick-off. The last time New Zealand lost an autumn Test to a northern hemisphere side was to England in November 2002. The last time they lost to England was in June 2003.

But Lancaster insisted his young England side had enough self-belief not to be "hypnotised" by the All Black aura - and enough ability to cause a shock result at Twickenham. "There was huge disappointment in losing to Australia and South Africa but I still believe the journey we are on is the right one," Lancaster said.

England have been given a 17-point start by some bookmakers but they are determined to avenge the narrow defeats to Australia (20-14) and South Africa (16-15) over the last fortnight.

Lancaster added: "This is a young side who have pushed two southern hemisphere teams very close.

"We are hugely motivated to get that win this weekend. Our mindset going into the game we have a 'no fear' mentality and we want to make sure that we front up.

"You have to rely on creating your own self-belief. You respect the opposition but you can't become hypnotised by them."

And that includes the haka. For many of England's greenhorn side, Saturday will be the first occasion when they will have faced the full All Black haka.

"There's going to be 82,000 people rising to it and as an international coach I can think of nothing better than facing the All Blacks at Twickenham," Lancaster said.

"The players are looking forward to it. It's about keeping cool heads. We have got to keep our brains cool."


From Belfast Telegraph