England 14-20 Australia, Twickenham, November 17
Lancaster vows to stick to his guns
November 18, 2012
England boss Stuart Lancaster has no intention of changing his plans for the national side © Getty Images
England coach Stuart Lancaster has refused to re-think his selection policy in the wake of his side's demoralising defeat to Australia on Saturday.
Lancaster's side missed a great opportunity to claim a major southern hemisphere scalp in the form of a Wallabies stripped of a host of leading names with the visitors claiming a narrow 20-14 victory at Twickenham. England's shortcomings and decision making have been the subject of widespread criticism with Sir Clive Woodward quick to question their preparation.
Question marks over their composure led to renewed calls for an injection of experience with the likes of veteran No.8 Nick Easter and France-based flanker Steffon Armitage among those linked with a return but Lancaster has no intention of varying away from his current youth policy with his eyes remaining firmly on the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
"We are developing a squad. We have come very close to winning and we should be confident in the decisions we are making," Lancaster said. "Bringing on Mako Vunipola and Joe Launchbury, two 21-year-olds, in the pack shows where we are and where we want to get to.
"The players in France are not available to play against New Zealand (on December 1 because the match falls outside the international release window). We could maybe pick someone but the reality is we couldn't play them against New Zealand so what do we do then?"
In what proved to be a game-defining gamble, England opted for quick tap penalties and kicks to the corner for lineouts as they chased the game on Saturday in the hope of notching a game-changing try but it did not pay off with No.8 Thomas Waldrom dropping the ball over the line in the most agonising missed chance.
Lancaster refused to criticise the decisions and will only seek better execution not a more reserved approach to the game. "We want performances and execution that can win at the highest level and we didn't quite achieve that," Lancaster said.
"We have to back ourselves to score from those situations. Our driving maul put them under pressure but Australia played a smart game, they pulled us down a few times on the line. There are a few things we feel slightly hard done by.
"We will look at those decisions and the different things we could have done. If we are going to back ourselves (to go for the line-out or take the quick tap penalties) we have to take those opportunities."
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