England
Lancaster impressed by Watson, May and Goode in victory
Tom Hamilton
August 15, 2015
© David Rogers - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images

Stuart Lancaster hailed the performance of his back three following England's 19-14 win over France at Twickenham on Saturday.

Anthony Watson grabbed a brace of tries while Jonny May also crossed as their three tries helped guide England to a win in their first of three Rugby World Cup warm-up matches. Watson was crowned Man of the Match for his role in the triumph while Lancaster also praised the performance of Alex Goode, who was instrumental in teeing up May's second-half score.

"Anthony and Jonny have been excellent in training and it was good to see them deliver what they've been doing in training into the games," Lancaster said. "They were both sharp and took their tries well. Alex Goode was excellent. He's an accomplished fullback and has played at the highest level. I thought he played well."

Lancaster has to trim the England squad down to 31 by August 31 and the players will have a final audition in the return match in France next weekend, where England are likely to field a largely different starting XV. Lancaster says he is not in "any hurry" to narrow down the final group but was pleased with Sam Burgess and Henry Slade's performances on their debuts.

"I thought he [Burgess] was good. He would have been disappointed to get sin-binned but I thought his decision making on when to pass and when to carry was good and his defensive physicality was good. He translated what he did in training into the game which is a hard thing to do on his first cap but he did well."

And of Slade, Lancaster said: "He played well on his first start. It's very exciting to have people like him coming through. It was nice to see Henry take his opportunity, I thought he played well and made some good decisions on the ball. He worked well in terms of how we want to play the game, in tandem with Owen [Farrell]. It was a good start for him."

Lancaster played down any injury fears over Kieran Brookes but was left to lament England's two sin-binnings - Burgess and Calum Clark both saw yellow - and his team's discipline.

"I thought we were strong defensively in the first 20 and the sin-bins put us under pressure as did the penalty count overall. I'm pleased and I thought a few players acquitted themselves well."

© Tom Hamilton

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