Lancaster: We must not dwell on tour defeat
ESPN Staff
August 15, 2014
Stuart Lancaster said he is determined to build a strong squad rather than focus on his starting XV © Getty Images

Stuart Lancaster has called on his England players to put the recent tour of New Zealand behind them as they build up to next year's World Cup.

Lancaster said his squad had already learned most of the lessons from the 3-0 whitewash at the hands of the All Blacks in June. Instead, the England head coach said now was the time to look forward with the new season in mind.

"It's mainly about looking forwards," Lancaster said. "We're clearly going to spend a bit of time reviewing the tour but we did a lot of that while we were out there.

"More importantly we need to give the players some key goals and objectives in the lead up to this season."

Lancaster was speaking as England gathered for a 55-man training camp in Loughborough. They will play 12 Tests before next year's World Cup opener, which will see England, as hosts, take on Fiji at Twickenham on Friday, September 18.

"When [the players] go back to their clubs they'll have real clarity over what we're looking for and how as players they can develop their game to suit the progression we're making as a team," Lancaster said.

"It's also good opportunity conditioning-wise. Our medical and performance teams can identify where players are strong and areas of weakness that can be improved to make them the world-class athletes we're going to need to win the World Cup."

Lancaster admitted that England need to develop a ruthless streak if they hope to compete with the likes of New Zealand, with the summer tour showing that his side must learn to concentrate for the full 80 minutes.

"The big lesson was taking your opportunities when they're presented with ruthlessness," he said. "There was a difference in intensity and speed-of-game, particularly in the middle half of the second Test and the start of the third Test, where you've got to be up to the mark for the full 80 minutes.

"Playing for 40, 50, 60 or 70 minutes is not enough to beat these sides. We knew that beforehand but now the players have actually experienced it I think they'll be better for it.

"New Zealand haven't done a bad job of [learning to win games]. But you don't win if you don't get the basics right. You have to respect the basics, get the scrum, the lineout, the breakdown right and be defensively strong, be set and be organised. And then layer on an X-factor and a point of difference as a team that enables you to cause problems."

Lancaster said his priority over the next 12 months is to build a squad with enough strength in depth to take on the combined challenge of the autumn internationals, RBS Six Nations and the World Cup. England's next Test will come against New Zealand on November 8, before they face South Africa, Samoa and Australia on successive Saturdays.

"It will come down to results when November comes around for sure," Lancaster said. "Building the team is key, looking at and fielding established combinations, but also making sure that we've got the strength in depth to build that World Cup squad.

"Consistency is important but also understanding that there are going to be changes along the way and making sure you can interchange players with minimum disruption.

"I don't think it's about knowing your best team; it's about the squad. I'm not going to turn around and say I've got [selection] nailed down because what does that say to everyone else. You've got to keep the door open as you never know who is going to have a great start to the season or who is going to develop. This time last year two or three players who weren't even considered ended up playing for us and playing extremely well in the Six Nations."

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