England v New Zealand, December 1
Lancaster looks to the future after huge win
December 1, 2012
England's Joe Launchbury tries to evade New Zealand's Kieran Read © Getty Images
England coach Stuart Lancaster saluted his charges after seeing them record a historic 38-21 victory over the All Blacks at Twickenham - a result which led to Kiwi coach Steve Hansen to label the red rose side as potential World Cup-winners.
England scored three tries in eight second-half minutes from Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton and Manu Tuilagi. And after watching his side's 20-match unbeaten run demolished New Zealand coach Hansen gave Lancaster's young side a ringing endorsement.
"There were two teams capable of winning the World Cup out there," Hansen said. "No excuses, we got beaten by the better side. This is a good England side. You should get behind them and back them a bit. They have shown what they can do and if you back them it will make them even more dangerous.
"They thoroughly deserved their victory and should be proud of what they have achieved with magnificent football. They took the game to us from the get-go, full credit to them."
The result will give England a massive lift ahead of the 2013 Six Nations as they ended their autumn internationals programme on a winning note after they suffered back-to-back defeats to the Wallabies and then the Springboks. But England answered the pre-match calls from the management staff to step up another gear and produced their best performance under Lancaster.
"The performance was exactly what we had hoped for," Lancaster said. "I'm chuffed for the players. When the tough times came we stayed together. That team belief with a young England side definitely augurs well for the future.
"At 15-14 we came back with three tries of our own. We've tried to instil a no-fear mentality in the players and to make them have the courage of their convictions. To build a 15-point lead was very pleasing. The All Blacks came back strong but our energy and our fight for the shirt was outstanding. That's what got us across the line.
"Our defence was outstanding. We forced the All Blacks into errors and not many sides do that."
The victory was a triumph for captain Chris Robshaw, who had been heavily criticised for poor decision-making against Australia and South Africa. Robshaw gathered his players in a huddle at the end and Lancaster explained the significance.
"Chris was saying that when we turn up for the Six Nations we must make sure we are at this level and not drop back 10 per cent," said Lancaster. "It is brilliant to get this result but we are on a long-term plan and we have to make sure we back up the performance.
"We didn't quite get across the line with Australia and South Africa but to get across the line with New Zealand with a young team with 206 caps in the starting XV is an unbelievable achievement. The win gives the players belief in the direction we are going and the rugby public a sense that this journey is the right one.
"We want to win here and now but we want to build a team for the future and we have lads like Joe Launchbury and Jon Joseph and Owen Farrell and Freddie (Burns) who are 21, 22 and 23 years old. They should be playing for England for years and we should be sat here in 10 years time and still have the same group of lads with 800 caps in our starting XV."
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