England 22 New Zealand 30: Stuart Lancaster ‘bitterly disappointed’
England 22 New Zealand 30: Red Rose head coach Stuart Lancaster admits his players are "bitterly disappointed" to lose
A proud Stuart Lancaster admitted he was “bitterly disappointed” for his players after New Zealand held off a resurgent England to win at Twickenham.
The visitors surged into an early second-minute lead thanks to Julian Savea before the Kiwis extended their advantage to 14 points when Kieran Read finished off a sweeping move.
England responded, and Joe Launchbury capitalised on a poor All Blacks scrum, whilst Owen Farrell kept the scoreboard ticking over to leave the half-time score at 16-20.
Two more penalties from the England fly-half put the hosts in front for the first time at Twickenham but the world champions rallied as Savea scored his second try of the afternoon which helped seal a close win.
“We’re desperately disappointed to have lost against a team that has been unbeaten all season,” Lancaster said.
“Our belief in ourselves and the direction that we’re going is positive. The players have been great and they play with character and pride.
“We didn’t get everything right in our previous two games but we did get a win against two pretty experienced southern hemisphere teams and we’ve pushed another one pretty close.
“It’s good but we set ourselves the highest targets and we would have liked to have won all three.”
The England head coach heaped special praise on England number eight Billy Vunipola and centre Billy Twelvetrees for their respective performances in the 30-22 defeat.
“The two Billys were exceptional. In what is only his third start at Twickenham at 21, Vunipola showed what a force he is going to be in world rugby.
“Twelvetrees bounced back from the disappointment of the first Test and had an outstanding game. The scrum went well and our attacking intent and mindset was strong.
“Defensively, against a team as strong as New Zealand, we showed tremendous courage.”