Brown: 'We can push New Zealand'
March 16, 2014
Mike Brown finished the 2014 Six Nations as joint-top try scorer © Getty Images
Mike Brown is upbeat about England's prospects heading into this summer's Test series against New Zealand, moving on from the disappointment of their runners-up finish to Ireland in this year's Six Nations.
Brown is a frontrunner to claim the championship's Player of the Tournament award after being named Man of the Match in three of his last four outings, and June's tour will be another test of the fullback's international credentials.
"New Zealand are the number one team in the world and we're going to their back yard. It's a great challenge for us. Now that this Six Nations is done and dusted, we're excited about New Zealand. It will be great. We aspire to achieve what they've achieved and to be like them. There's a lot of confidence in the squad that we can push New Zealand. We're making strides with our attacking game and can make teams uncomfortable in defence and attack."
Stuart Lancaster concedes that England's slow start to this year's Six Nations played a big role in stunting their bid for the title, noting that "the first 20 minutes in France gave us a mountain to climb".
England suffered their only defeat of the tournament in the first round, and after losing the title on points difference, when asked if held any regrets, Lancaster said: "Winning in France would have helped as a starting point. You can always look back in hindsight at moments in games and at decisions that you felt went against you, missed opportunities. I tend not to get drawn back to that extent. Instead I think about the development we've made as a group and all the positives of the performances.
"But there's no doubt about it, that first 20 minutes in France gave us a mountain to climb that ultimately cost us in the end. Overall you look back at the games and what we could have done differently, but overall the positives are there for everyone to see. We scored 14 tries over the tournament, seven against Italy, and I'm hugely proud of what we've achieved."
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