England 28-31 South Africa
Lancaster bemoans England error count
Tom Hamilton at Twickenham
November 15, 2014
Willie Le Roux powers through the England defence © Getty Images

England coach Stuart Lancaster bemoaned their error-count in the wake of their 31-28 defeat to South Africa at Twickenham.

It was England's fifth loss on the bounce despite dominating both territory and possession against the Springboks. Like last week, England rallied late but were left with too much to do in the dying embers of the match.

And post-match Lancaster singled out their error count as a frustrating aspect of their defeat. "We got some good field position in the second half and we took those chances well," Lancaster said. "I think in the first half we could have played smarter given the conditions, it was one of those days where territory was important.

"The South Africans benefited from our errors in the first half without constructing too much themselves, really. We need to be smarter if we are going to beat the world's top two sides."

He added: "The frustration was giving points away when they didn't have to work hard to earn them. To give those points away put us under some pressure. There was lots of constructive rugby and as the game wore on that showed. We needed to be smarter at the end of the game and win our own ball."

England trailed by 14 points in the early stages of the second half but rallied back to within five before seeing Dylan Hartley sin-binned for illegal use of the boot in the ruck. Andy Farrell said the incident was not severe but also expressed his frustration at England's ill discipline.

"I didn't think it was severe at all and they were debating it carefully as they didn't think it was severe themselves," Farrell said. "It comes down to a fine line and interpretation of the referees.

"We got ourselves back in the game well but when we had our purple patches we compounded it with a penalty that stopped our momentum or dropped balls which allowed South Africa to get back into the game. That loss of continuity mars our game."

For England, attention now turns to Samoa on Saturday. Lancaster is likely to make changes to the side with George Ford and Ben Morgan in the mix to start. Lancaster knows England must return to winning ways but he insists there is no reason to panic with the World Cup 10 matches away.

"You stick to what you believe is the right thing to do," he said. "You wouldn't criticise the players for their efforts but sometimes being smarter and trying to manipulate the back-field is something to look at. I think when you give away points like we did in the first half and a little bit of ill-discipline are things we need to improve."

He added: "We'll not panic, we will not lose our nerve. We will not deviate from the course we are on."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.

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