England in New Zealand 2014
Lancaster frustrated by fixture congestion
May 16, 2014
Stuart Lancaster could be without his captain Chris Robshaw for the first Test against the All Blacks © Getty Images
Stuart Lancaster has spoken of his frustration at the fixture congestion which leaves him unable to call on some of his most senior players for the start of England's tour to New Zealand.
The first Test kicks off in Auckland on June 7, a week after the Aviva Premiership final, meaning the England squad will travel to New Zealand without the players involved in that game. If there is a Northampton-Harlequins final, up to eight first-choice players will be ruled out of the first Test, including captain Chris Robshaw.
Northampton Flanker Tom Wood has already branded the situation "ridiculous" and Lancaster said the situation was far from ideal: "It's hard to disagree with the way Tom articulated it. Tom, like everyone else, is very frustrated by the situation.
"We get very few opportunities to go to a country like New Zealand and play against them, so you want to go with your best side."
But Lancaster has earned a reputation as a steady hand on the tiller and insisted his squad would be prepared for the first Test: "It's something I've known for a long time and I'm trying to get on with the practicalities of it."
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