Lancaster delights in job done
June 16, 2013
England captain Tom Wood hoists his side's hard-won trophy © Getty Images
England coach Stuart Lancaster believes his side have taken a major step forward in their evolution on their unbeaten tour of Argentina.
Lancaster's youthful side, stripped of a host of front line stars on British & Irish Lions duty or rested from the tour, completed a first ever series clean sweep in Argentina with a 51-26 victory over the Pumas in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
England's stunning seven-try showing followed an equally impressive 32-3 win in Salta the previous weekend with both games highlighting the strength in depth available to Lancaster with the likes of wingers Christian Wade and Marland Yarde, flanker Matt Kvesic and centre Kyle Eastmond emerging as possible future stars.
"I am delighted to get the series victory. We had not achieved that before (with a clean sweep)," Lancaster told PA Sport. "Credit to Argentina. They improved this week and put us under a lot of pressure so it is even more pleasing to have scored 50 points.
"One of our goals was to win all four games on tour, including the Barbarians game. Objective one achieved. Objective two was to develop other options and look at increasing our selection decisions, which has also been achieved.
"In terms of our evolution, this tour has been critical. Some of the young players have gained a huge amount of experience coming on this tour and we have developed new leaders. We can look forward to the autumn internationals having won seven of the last eight games."
Reflecting on Yarde's two-try debut on Saturday night, Lancaster said: "Marland has an unbelievable balance and power that makes him very hard to tackle."
Lancaster reserved special praise for Gloucester winger Jonny May who was handed his Test debut in Buenos Aires following Wade's call-up to the British & Irish Lions in Australia. "Jonny was thrown in at the last minute. I can't think of an error he made in the game," Lancaster said.
As dazzling as England's young back division were in their latest meeting with the Pumas, they owed a great deal to a superb forward display with prop Joe Marler taking a starring role in the silencing of a fired-up Pumas pack.
"We knew there would be a reaction from Argentina and we felt the full force of it in the first 20 minutes but we didn't lose our heads or composure," said Lancaster. "Rob Webber has come in at hooker and he scrummaged very well. David Wilson is playing his best rugby and Dave Attwood coming in behind him means we have a heavy scrum now.
"I am pleased Joe got man of the match. I thought he deserved it. He has been in exceptional form since he arrived in camp. It shows the strength in depth in that position."
England's Marland Yarde and Kyle Eastmond celebrate their win © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton