Crusaders 7-38 England
Lancaster delighted with Kvesic's showing
Tom Hamilton in Christchurch
June 17, 2014
Matt Kvesic was singled out for praise by Stuart Lancaster © Getty Images
England coach Stuart Lancaster was delighted with his team's performance in the wake of their comfortable win over the Crusaders and praised Matt Kvesic's showing.
Kvesic played the full 80 minutes in England's 38-7 triumph and got the better of both George Whitelock and Matt Todd. The match gave those on the fringes of the Test team a chance to state their claim ahead of Saturday's third Test against the All Blacks and Kvesic's performance would have given the coaches plenty to think about as they assess the make-up of their 23-man squad.
"For me the Man of the Match was Matt Kvesic, I thought he was outstanding and it was the best game he's had this season," Lancaster said. "I thought the back-row as a whole did well, James Haskell had a strong game and some of the young front-rowers I was pleased with.
"If you consider Anthony Watson could be in our Under-20 side, he showed glimpses of the exciting talent he has. And you also have Brad Barritt and Alex Goode who you know are good international players and they delivered a good international performance."
With Owen Farrell out of Saturday's game in Hamilton, Freddie Burns is set to start and Danny Cipriani's form on Tuesday may have seen him edge ahead of Stephen Myler for a spot on the bench. Lancaster said he was delighted with the form of both of his half-backs.
"I was pleased with the contribution of Lee and Danny in the first half," Lancaster said. "They controlled the game well, played quickly and create opportunities when they presented themselves.
"I felt sorry for Myler and Wigglesworth because we defended a lot in the second-half and the breakdown became more hotly contested. As a consequence there wasn't so much clean ball so they wouldn't have to the opportunities they would have wanted. I was pleased with the contribution of all four, but the guys in the first-half did well."
For Lancaster, it is his first win on New Zealand soil as England boss and the team's first since 2003. He hopes the group will use this as a m push on and win the final Test on Saturday.
"The challenge was to put down a marker on Tuesday night to take that momentum into Saturday. What we didn't want was face the All Blacks after not delivering to our full potential and everything is geared towards Saturday."
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Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.