Rugby World Cup 2015: Lancaster urging England to finish in positive fashion

Stuart Lancaster admits his England team owe the nation a big performance against Uruguay on Saturday

England head coach Stuart Lancaster admits his team owe the nation a big performance when they finish off their disastrous World Cup campaign against Uruguay on Saturday.

Lancaster’s side have become the first-ever host nation to fail to make the knockout stages at a World Cup after successive defeats to Wales and Australia at Twickenham.

This weekend’s clash with the South Americans at the City of Manchester Stadium is now a dead rubber to all intents and purposes.

But Lancaster insists his side are ready to prove a point and finish the tournament on a high note.

“There is a responsibility for us to put in a good performance for the country,” he said. “In the context of this game, that means the north of England.

“I know from my own personal experiences living in Cumbria and Leeds how much rugby is played in the north and how much grassroots rugby, people who have longed for England to come to the north, the importance of the game in Manchester is huge.

“The last impression you leave is an important one, in any competition, any tournament, any walk of life, so it’s very important we put a positive attacking display together.

“At some point as a leader, you are trying to give someone a sense of direction, purpose and perspective.

“While all the noise on the outside is huge, I am determined that the team stays together and stays positive, believing in what they are doing.

“We have played some brilliant rugby over course of the last 12-18 months and before then. We have not won every game, but we have won a lot and people should not forget that.”

England’s side to take on Uruguay shows a number of changes, particularly in the backline where Henry Slade comes into the No.13 jersey and Jack Nowell features on the left wing.

Alex Goode also starts at full-back while George Ford and Owen Farrell resume the 10-12 pairing they made in the England age groups – Danny Care starts at scrum-half.

Up front Mako Vunipola comes in for Joe Marler in the front row while Nick Easter starts at No.8 and James Haskell on the blindside.

Chris Robshaw will captain England again and Lancaster is excited to see what his new-look side can produce.

“I 100% believe that the group of players sat at Pennyhill in January for the Six Nations will be very similar to the group we have now.

“There is a tremendous group of players coming through, some of our most talented players are also our youngest players.

“When you look at the backline for this game, it’s a very exciting one.”

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