‘Frustrating’ loss spurs England on
16 Jun 2012
Stuart Lancaster says England experienced mixed feelings of frustration and pride following Saturday’s defeat and still believe they can finish the series with a victory.
On Saturday, the Boks downed England 36-27 to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series. The South Africans will have an opportunity to whitewash the tourists next week, although the England coach remains hopeful of claiming one consolation win.
The Boks led 25-10 at half-time before England fought back to trail by just 31-27 in the last 10 minutes. Lancaster commended his charges for never giving up, but lamented the poor first-half performance.
‘We gave them too much of a start,’ he said. ‘I was delighted with the attitude we showed to come back, and at 31-27 the game was about small margins. But ultimately we couldn’t give them such a start. We left ourselves with too much to do.
‘Frustration is the overriding emotion in the dressing room, but there is a mixture of pride and frustration given we did so well to fight back. To win an international game you need a high percentage of technical accuracy and unfortunately that percentage wasn’t high enough.’
Lancaster believes that there was enough in England’s performance in Johannesburg to suggest the tourists are capable of winning in Port Elizabeth. The final Test will be staged next Saturday.
‘In some areas we were better than last week, and in others we weren’t. Our scrum began to take control at the end and our attack caused them problems. But then they also did well when they attacked us.
‘We’re going to give it a good crack in PE. We’ve come a long way since the start of the Six Nations. If there wasn’t a belief we could win, well it would be a big mountain to climb.’
Lancaster also hinted that there would be changes to the starting side for the next clash in Port Elizabeth.
‘At the start of the tour, we said we wouldn’t play the same team from start to finish, and we’ll probably hold to that,’ he said.
England will also play a tour match against the Northern Barbarians in Potchefstroom next Tuesday.
By Jon Cardinelli, in Johannesburg