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VIDEO – Lancaster takes learning from 20-minute All Blacks barrage

15 June 2014

  • Lancaster reviews one-point defeat to New Zealand in Dunedin
  • "We’re not that far behind and they know that the gap is closing" – head coach

Stuart Lancaster believes England will emerge as a better side after experiencing the 20-minute second-half bombardment from New Zealand which ultimately swung the second Test in their favour.

After Marland Yarde’s third Test try helped England to a 10-0 lead after just five minutes, the All Blacks out-scored the visitors 25 points to three in the third quarter of the game to clinch the series with one Test remaining.

Mike Brown and Chris Ashton scored deserved consolation tries to reward a commited and ambitious display after the bench helped wrest back territory and possession late in the game, but the volume and variety of runners hurtling at England’s defence was the match’s defining feature.

Chris Robshaw and Owen Farrell halt a powerful Jerome Kaino run

Photo: Getty Images

Discussing how a team can learn to emerge from the spells of sustained and forceful pressure the top teams will inevitably apply without conceding the game, the England Head Coach said: “I don’t think there is any other way than going through the experience.

“You can talk about it in hypothetical situations, you can show them clips of training or the experience of other teams but until you are there in the moment and living it, breathing it and working as a team to overcome it, you can’t build experience.

“The All Blacks went through a transition in 2004 leading into 2007 and lost all sorts of games of rugby as they evolved as a team and the experience they gained at that point you can see coming to the fore at the moment. We’re probably a little bit behind them in that regard but I don’t think we’re that far behind and they know that the gap is closing.”

The All Blacks altered the course of an even game by exploiting a series of counter-attack mismatches from turnovers and kick returns. For example, the first try from the excellent Ben Smith resulted from a clinical attack by Aaron Cruden, Julian Savea and Smith against Dave Wilson, Ben Morgan and Mike Brown.

Ben Smith on the run for New Zealand in Dunedin

Photo: Getty Images

To prevent these dangerous scenarios Lancaster called for “better decisions”.

“The most dangerous part of playing against the All Blacks is when they get the ball on counter attacks or turnover ball,” he added. “Those are the two most dangerous times for a defence because people are in the wrong spaces. That’s what they exploited on two or three occasions but it comes as a culmination of an inaccurate kick or a loose offload which puts you under pressure. 

“Our defence was exceptional throughout the game. The workrate and attitude of the lads was fantastic but eliminating those little errors is the difference between being the best in the world and just chasing them.”

Lancaster cut a frustrated figure after losing two matches to the world champions by a combined total of six points but highlighted the positives of scoring 27 points and three quarters where they more than matched the hosts.

Chris Ashton goes over for a late try in Dunedin

Photo: Getty Images

England now face the Canterbury Crusaders in Christchurch on Tuesday (8:35am BST), with the team named tomorrow at 2am BST. With a morale-boosting first tour win the objective this week, Lancaster is adamant the group can round a long season off with a win and carry momentum into the next meeting with New Zealand at Twickenham in November.

“We want to make sure we finish strongly – then everyone can finish the season having won,” he added. “What traditionally happens on these tours is that the touring team tend to struggle in this third Test but that won’t be an issue for us. We’ll be ready for the game.”