Lancaster looks to positives from defeat
Tom Hamilton at Eden Park
June 7, 2014
Conrad Smith's game-winning try © Getty Images
England coach Stuart Lancaster looked to the positives of their performance against the All Blacks but was disappointed with their 20-15 loss.
England went toe to toe with the Kiwis for much of the game but Conrad Smith's late try saw New Zealand home. England went into the match as huge underdogs as they were without a host of players due to logistical reasons and injury but caused the All Blacks all sorts of difficulties.
Lancaster was quick to praise the All Blacks post-match but lamented the late try they conceded.
"Congratulations to New Zealand, it was a tight Test match and they edged it in the end. We are desperately disappointed having fought so hard having been in the game for so long. It's an 80-minute game and credit to them for closing it out. We're tremendously proud of how they did and with the quality of players sat in the stand, it was tough on them not to come away with anything."
Forwards coach Graham Rowntree hailed the pack and singled out hooker Rob Webber and back-row Ben Morgan for praise.
"We challenged the forward pack to take their game to the next level and they did that," Rowntree said. "There were noble performances from Rob Webber, who hasn't played much rugby, and I thought he was exceptional today as was Ben Morgan who had his best performance in an England shirt. To lose the game in that way was immensely frustrating.
England and the All Blacks now go to Dunedin for the second Test and Lancaster has backed his side to level up the series.
"I think both sides will improve," Lancaster said. "The All Blacks have a similar side and we have the challenge to get the cohesion with the new group of players. They will definitely improve, but we will as well. We will learn a lot from this game.
"The next game is huge for us, we want to tie the series and go to a decider in Hamilton and absolutely believe we can do."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter