New Zealand 36 England 13: We must be better, says Stuart Lancaster
New Zealand 36 England 13 Stuart Lancaster voices his dissatisfaction at Red Rose's first-half display
Stuart Lancaster says his England side have to be better and more consistent after a heavy defeat in Hamilton gave New Zealand a 3-0 series win.
After narrow losses at Eden Park and Dunedin in the first two Tests, England were blown away in the first half by a rampant New Zealand side who equalled the Test record of 17 consecutive victories.
I’m proud of the second half performance and that’s what I expect as an England coach and as an England team that’s what we need to deliver consistently
London Irish winger Marland Yarde, who is off to Harlequins next season, scored England’s only try early in the second half but Julian Savea’s hat-trick, including two tries in the opening nine minutes, and Aaron Smith’s first-half double had the All Blacks in control.
The hosts led 29-6 at half-time and Lancaster admits he had to deliver some home truths at half-time.
“It was a high-quality All Blacks first half performance but it was poor quality from us and that was the disappointing thing,” Lancaster said.
“We showed tremendous character again to come back in the second half and I thought we created some really good opportunities and it was a shame we didn’t take them. It’s disappointing to lose that try at the end but overall we were beaten by the better side.
“You’ve seen [the All Blacks] at their best in a period last week as well. They’re a world class side who have won 36 out of 37 games and you don’t do that by accident. You hope it’s not going to happen but clearly in the first half it was but we managed to get a foothold at half-time and dragged ourselves back into the game second half.
“I’m proud of the second half performance and that’s what I expect as an England coach and as an England team that’s what we need to deliver consistently.
“We want to be the best in the world so we have to be in the game for 80 minutes and not for 40 or 60 or 70 minutes. But that’s what playing at this level you find out and I think we need to look at the bigger picture.
“We’re a long way towards my best 15 and games like this you find out a lot about players. Over the course of the tour there were some huge positives so I’m not going to emotionally overreact on the back of a disappointing first half.”
New Zealand scrum-half Smith was pleased with the way his side had kept England out in the second half given their comeback in the second test.
“It was good that we could sort of show that when we get things right that we can really do some damage,” Smith said.
“It was a really good first half but then England really showed their guts in the second half. We were lucky that we had a few more points on the board this time and we were able to hold them out this time.
“They got a try early in the second half which got it quite interesting but I’m really happy about our boys standing up and showing a bit of guts. We went down to 14 men and we were able to shut it down.”