England to use frustration on New Zealand
March 17, 2014
Luther Burrell was one of England's stars of the Six Nations © Getty Images
England have switched attention to their summer tour with Stuart Lancaster saying they will travel to New Zealand with "all guns blazing".
England finished second for the third Six Nations running but did manage to secure their first Triple Crown since 2003. England showed improvement as the competition progressed with combinations growing in confidence but Lancaster knows they will have to up their game to the next level if they are to beat the Kiwis on their own patch.
"New Zealand is a very tough place to go, as people have found. There will be no end-of-season tiredness in us whatsoever," Lancaster said. "We will go out there with all guns blazing and have a really good crack at it as we believe we can win down there. We pushed New Zealand close in the autumn and have beaten them once before.
"We have taken confidence from this Six Nations campaign and the momentum of our season in general. As long as we keep our momentum going the players should be peaking for the end of the season. I have restated to the players the point that the season finishes on June 21.
"The players are really excited by the tour. They have loved their time with England in this campaign and coming together as a group. Obviously there is frustration that we haven't quite got across the line in the Six Nations, but that can be channelled into more positive performances in New Zealand."
Planning for the first Test in Auckland on June 7 will de disrupted by the staging of the Aviva Premiership final seven days earlier, denying England access to those players in action at Twickenham. This Six Nations has proved, however, that Lancaster has genuine depth at his disposal with options further improved by the possible return of Geoff Parling, Tom Croft, Christian Wade, Marland Yarde and Alex Corbisiero from injury.
"I have already worked out a couple of permutations for that first Test and we'll have to see who ends up in the top four," Lancaster said. "There are five clubs vying for the play-offs and it will make the build-up to the first Test challenging.
"The reality is decisions won't get made until after that Premiership semi-final weekend on May 19. We will go into camp after that point. And there are still five English clubs in the Amlin Challenge Cup."
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