Six Nations 2014: England’s Stuart Lancaster take positives from loss
Six Nations 2014: England head coach Stuart Lancaster takes plenty of positives from their 26-24 loss to France on Saturday
Stuart Lancaster believes England have learnt a lot and can take plenty of positives out of their narrow 26-24 defeat by France in the opening round of the Six Nations.
The Red Rose were leading with five minutes remaining at the Stade de France before France centre Gaël Fickou scored the match-winning try to seal a memorable win over Lancaster’s men.
Once we get rid of the original disappointment, we’ll take a huge amount of positives from the game
“We’re obviously disappointed. We got ourselves back into the game for being 16-3 down. Losing after coming back from this was very disappointing. But I am very proud of the effort and skills our players put in. It was the first time for a lot of them to come here and play, and we’re extremely proud of their performance,” Lancaster said.
“It was a great performance in a lot of ways. We’re very proud of that, and once we get rid of the original disappointment, we’ll take a huge amount of positives from the game.
“I think games are never won or lost in one moment. Obviously, everything matters at this level. From our point of view, we’ve been working on those little errors and we need to make sure we get
those little moments right. But overall, the positives in our performance surpass those moments, although we recognise we have to improve in order to win those big games.”
A second-half try from Northampton Saints centre Luther Burrell, a drop-goal from Danny Care and a penalty from Saracens full-back Alex Goode looked to have been enough for a deserved win before the England defence fell apart as France went through the phases.
Replacement hooker Dimitri Szarzewski broke away to feed Toulouse centre Fickou who, despite only being on the pitch a matter of minutes, skipped round Goode to dot down under the posts to cap off a pulsating match.
Lancaster added: “I was very disappointed to concede it, but credit to the French team for how they created that opportunity from inside their own half. It’s about making sure we get all the little details right in our game. Overall, as I said before, there are huge positives to take from that game.”
With one eye on next year’s Rugby World Cup in England, Lancaster had surprised with a number of inexperienced players for the visit to the Stade de France, but had plenty of praise for how his side performed against a powerful French side.
“Five players in our pack were making their first start in France, and we have the youngest pack in the championship. I thought they did extremely well,” Lancaster said. “We made numerous line breaks. It wasn’t just [Number 8] Billy [Vunipola], Joe Marler had a fantastic game, Ben Morgan and Tom Youngs were great when they came on, and the list goes on. We’ve learned a lot from this.”
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