Crusaders 7 England 38: Stuart Lancaster faces selection headache

Crusaders 7 England 38: Stuart Lancaster heaps praise on his fringe players after a 38-7 win on Tuesday

Stuart Lancaster praised the work of his fringe players after their 38-7 win over Super Rugby side Crusaders.

Lancaster took advantage of his large touring party by ringing the changes for the match, and was rewarded inside two minutes when Harlequins hooker Joe Gray went over the line.

We’ve got positive selection problems as well [for Saturday] and I keep coming back to the bigger picture about getting the squad ready for the World Cup in 12 months’ time

Stuart Lancaster

Further tries from Northampton Saints’ Ben Foden, Saracens duo Brad Barritt and Alex Goode, and Bath Rugby’s Anthony Watson helped the scoreboard to tick over, before Worcester Warriors’ Chris Pennell touched down with the final drive of the match.

And Lancaster said his selection committee for the third Test on Saturday would face some tough questions, with a number of players putting their names in hat for a place in the matchday squad.

With Danny Care struggling for fitness and Owen Farrell already ruled out with a knee injury, Lancaster knows he has some thinking to do.

“I was desperate for the lads to do well tonight because they had worked hard for us and waited patiently for their opportunity,” Lancaster said.

“I hoped they would put in a performance that would make both themselves and us proud and I thought they delivered that.

“The breakdown was hotly contested in the second half and they put us under pressure there.

“Our defence was outstanding and Andy Farrell deserves credit for that and the boys have really bought into it.

“We’ve got positive selection problems as well [for Saturday] and I keep coming back to the bigger picture about getting the squad ready for the World Cup in 12 months’ time.”

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