England in New Zealand 2014
Lancaster: We will force All Blacks to respect us
May 16, 2014
Stuart Lancaster announced a preliminary training group at Twickenham yesterday © Getty Images
Stuart Lancaster has fired the starting gun on England's tour to New Zealand by demanding his players earn the All Blacks' respect by the end of the three-Test series.
Lancaster admitted that England teams of old let themselves down in New Zealand and said he was determined to put that right when his squad boards the plane in June.
"We've let ourselves down in our previous two visits to New Zealand and we need to make sure we leave there as good ambassadors for England," said Lancaster as he announced a preliminary training group drawn from the six clubs not involved in European or Aviva Premiership play-offs.
"We also need to leave New Zealand with their country respecting us as a team and a group. Absolutely I'll be making that point before we leave."
The 2008 tour and World Cup three years later were marred by poor behaviour from players and, although Lancaster was not involved in those ill-fated trips, he is adamant there will be no repeat of the scandals this year.
Several of his senior players were caught up in unsavoury incidents, with full-back Mike Brown disciplined for misconduct by the RFU in 2008 and Manu Tuilagi censured for diving into an Auckland harbour in 2011.
"I will not get them to stand up and explain what happened, but I will reference it as the sort of things that can happen and which can't go on on this trip," said Lancaster. "I will absolutely be making that point before we leave, and that starts on Sunday. There will be players involved in the Premiership final [May 31] who will not be present, but the talk will be recorded and they will be watching. If not, I will stress it to them on arrival."
Lancaster's preparations for the tour have been hampered by fixture congestion at the end of the Premiership season, with most of his senior players unavailable for selection for the first Test due to involvement in the play-offs. But the head coach insisted his players would cope.
"These are the cards we have been dealt and we are going there to win a series. For the players, these are the games of their lives. England have never played a three-Test series in New Zealand. It will not get any better for them. It is a chance to make history."
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