New Zealand 28 England 27: Stuart Lancaster looks to positives
New Zealand 28 England 27: Stuart Lancaster insists the positives outweigh the negatives after losing series
Stuart Lancaster believes the “positives outweigh the negatives” despite being disappointed at losing the Steinlager Series after a 28-27 defeat to New Zealand in the second Test in Dunedin.
After pushing the All Blacks close in a 20-15 defeat in Auckland a week ago, there was much expectation on England with several big name players back but gave up a 10-6 lead as the world champions put on a master class in the opening 30 minutes of the second half.
It’s decision-making at the highest level that we need to look at and that’s probably the next step we need to take with the team
“We’re disappointed to have come away with nothing having worked so hard,” said Lancaster. “We put ourselves in a position to win after the first half.
“We have high expectations on this tour and having lost the first game so narrowly we wanted to level the series and take it to a decider in Hamilton, but they are high-quality opposition and after another week together you could see the improved cohesion in their performance.
“There were one or two errors in our game which presented them with opportunities, but overall the positives far outweigh the negatives.”
England made five changes from the opening match and opted to play Leicester Tigers star Manu Tuilagi on the right wing, where he was largely underemployed but Lancaster insists that they are moving in the right direction ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup.
“Overall I felt the backline created a lot of opportunities as a group,” Lancaster added. “The frustration for us is not finishing the opportunities.
“Scoring three tries in Dunedin is not a bad return so we are moving in the right direction but, still, we didn’t quite finish the deal.
“It’s decision-making at the highest level that we need to look at and that’s probably the next step we need to take with the team.”
England have one more chance to get a win over the All Blacks with the third Test in Hamilton next week and there have already been calls for Tuilagi to be returned to his customary outside centre position.
“We’ll wait and see really, we’ll have to assess the game,” Lancaster said. “We won’t make the decision until Wednesday.”