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.
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league