England 38 New Zealand 21: Lancaster astonished by display
England 38 New Zealand 21: Stuart Lancaster admits mauling of New Zealand was beyond his wildest imagination
England head coach Stuart Lancaster admitted his side’s mauling of world champions New Zealand was beyond his wildest imagination.
Confidence in his side could have dissipated after disappointing losses to Australia and South Africa in the past fortnight, but Lancaster insisted it was only a matter of time before his youthful squad delivered a world-beating performance in response.
Boasting nine new faces compared to the side that started the RBS Six Nations against Scotland back in February, England produced one of their finest ever performances at Twickenham.
And in ending the All Blacks’ 20-game unbeaten run, Lancaster pointed to his squad’s improved composure throughout the autumn internationals as the decisive factor.
“To put a scoreline on a side as good as New Zealand is way beyond what we hoped for,” said Lancaster. “But ultimately we had the belief throughout the week. To be honest we’ve had the belief through the last few weeks.
“We were disappointed of course with the last two defeats but you just got the sense in the last week that we were building towards something special. I’m so pleased for the boys that they got it.
“There was a lot of composure at half-time, real clarity of thought – we weren’t getting carried away. I think that’s where we’ve grown in the last few weeks, that clarity of thought in the heat of battle has really improved.
“We’ve always had the energy and the attitude and the character but today we put the top six inches on.
“I’m chuffed for the boys. We’ve all copped it in the last few weeks but they are the ones who have put the graft in.
“We’ve always had the intent – we always want to play in the right areas. The way we mixed up our game, our driving game, our scrum, our defence was outstanding.
“We really, really stepped up I felt. Owen Farrell’s kicking game was outstanding. Tom Wood was man of the match and deservedly so – but I could have picked another 14.”