Lancaster confident of final flourish
June 18, 2012
Stuart Lancaster saw his side lose 36-27 to South Africa in their second Test clash at Ellis Park © Getty Images
England head coach Stuart Lancaster is confident his side can bounce back to winning ways in Saturday's third and final Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth.
A brave but ultimately fruitless performance resulted in a 36-27 defeat to the Springboks at Ellis Park on Saturday that gave the hosts an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. But Lancaster does not believe motivation will be a problem in the coming days.
"Our boys have had an 11-month season now - it was probably this time last year the World Cup camp started," he said. "We went through that, the World Cup, the Six Nations - it has been a long slog - but I guarantee there is one more game left in them.
"The good thing is the overriding feeling in the dressing room was frustration. I would be disappointed if the players came in and said, 'We did a good job and almost won'.
"Great sides want to win all the time and these players are hungry. We'll bottle the frustration, drive it through training this week and then have a crack at it in Port Elizabeth. That is the great part of this three-game series."
Reflecting on his side's latest reverse, Lancaster added: "I thought our scrum began to take control and gain the ascendancy in the second half. When we had the ball and we moved the ball we definitely caused them problems defensively. But when the Springboks have the ball they run hard at you and it is hard to stop. They move the ball well.
"I thought in some areas we were better and others we weren't, but that is part of coaching and rugby at this level. We will definitely take the positives but the areas we need to develop we will have a good look at.
"It would help if we didn't give them a start but we can win in Port Elizabeth. As soon as your belief goes it is going to be a difficult mountain to climb."
Lancaster's selection for Port Elizabeth could yet be influenced by Tuesday's mid-week clash against the SA Barbarians (North) in Potchefstroom. "We are working our socks off. We have a game on Tuesday night and that is the next thing on our minds, and getting this team picked up and ready to go again on Saturday."
As for any likely changes, he said: "It is too early to say. I have had some quick thoughts but the first thoughts are getting from the problem to the solution. We wanted to come on this tour and give the players some experience and also learn about players."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards rewinds to 1864 to mark the birth of Welsh rugby's first authentic star - Arthur Gould
Michael Cheika has succeeded in becoming the Wallabies coach under his own terms, writes Greg Growden
In the blink of an eye, a winger can go from a hero to villain. Hugh Godwin talks to Zac Guildford and David Strettle about life on the flank
Munster, No.8s, the imploding Australians, wonderful Glasgow and Lancaster's dilemma - it is Monday Maul time