England coach Stuart Lancaster rues errors in All Blacks defeat

England head coach Stuart Lancaster
England head coach Stuart Lancaster said his side showed "character and fight"

Head coach Stuart Lancaster rued England's "hugely disappointing" first half after their 36-13 defeat by New Zealand in the third Test.

England, who trailed 29-6 at half-time in Hamilton, have lost the series 3-0.

"They created all sorts of problems and we struggled to maintain any cohesion under the intensity of the All Blacks' game," Lancaster told BBC Sport.

"Making errors like we did at this level put us in a huge hole and we were beaten by the better team."

Most consecutive wins by a top-tier nation
17New Zealand1965 - 1969
17South Africa1997 - 1998
17*New Zealand2013 - 2014* (ongoing)
16New Zealand2011 - 2012
15South Africa1994 - 1996
15New Zealand2005 - 2006
15New Zealand2009 - 2010
14England2002 - 2003

He added: "Kieran Read returning to the line-out meant they got very good ball and drove well, and by doing that they narrowed our defence and created great attacking lines.

"We were chasing our tails in the first half and it took half-time to get some stability in the team."

England improved after the restart and were only prevented from winning the second half when New Zealand wing Julian Savea completed his hat-trick with the final move of the game.

"Credit to the boys - we created lots of opportunities in the second half, scored one and probably should have had two," said Lancaster.

"We dug in and showed some character and fight. If we had played with that sort of intensity in the first half, perhaps it would have been a different scoreline.

"It was a real shame they got that try at the end because our efforts in the second half deserved a little better."

Lancaster said his side had no excuses for failing to win a Test in the series, before reminding any potential critics that England were hampered by their schedule and injuries.

"The staggered end of the season in the northern hemisphere causes issues - you're throwing lads who haven't played in such a long time into big games," said Lancaster.

"And we've got some pretty good players sat at home - the front row in particular... Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Tom Youngs, Alex Corbisiero will come back into the mix.

"So we'll look forward to the autumn series when we've got players playing consistently well. We've learnt a lot and we'll be more experienced the next time."

England will have the chance to gain revenge over New Zealand when they play them at Twickenham on 8 November.

Meanwhile, the All Blacks will break the record for the most consecutive Test victories if they beat Australia in Sydney on 16 August. Steve Hansen's side have won their last 17 international matches.

Head coach Hansen said his side's first-half performance against England in Hamilton was "as good as it gets".

"The first-half performance was really special and won us the game," he said.

"The things we did well were the things that we'd been working hard on. Our set-piece was good, our running lines were great, catch and pass was good and we finished off tries."

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