England v New Zealand: Stuart Lancaster encouraged by display

Lancaster impressed with young players

Coach Stuart Lancaster insists England are "not far away" from New Zealand despite a 24-21 defeat by the world champions at Twickenham on Saturday.

England led 14-11 at half-time, but the visitors dominated after the break despite having Dane Coles sin-binned.

Lancaster said: "We haven't got the right result, but we don't feel we're far away. In the first half we were pretty close if not level."

It is New Zealand's fifth win over England in 12 months.

The losing run suggests England have some way to go if they are to triumph at next year's World Cup, but Lancaster remains optimistic.

He added: "We've got some good players watching the game, so we'll keep our confidence and maintain the direction in which we're going.

"The All Blacks have played eight games and two-and-a-half months together since we last played them and I thought we put them under pressure.

"We created opportunities in attack but obviously there's a period of play they constructed that shows why they have the experience to close out a game like that.

"That's what we've got to get."

Jonny May's first try for England had given Lancaster's side the perfect start but they squandered a handful of excellent opportunities to turn their early domination into points.

England were left to rue those missed chances as the All Blacks began to dominate and they were rewarded with second-half tries from captain Richie McCaw and replacement Charlie Faumuina.

Former England star Matt Dawson's analysis
"There are a lot of positives from the first half for England. Up until the last minute, England didn't score a point in the second half, they didn't get into the right areas. It was as if they stopped playing and New Zealand came on.
"They lacked the physicality and experience and the New Zealand bench told.
"I am confident that England can win in the World Cup against anyone. When the players are fit and the coach Stuart Lancaster works out what to do with the midfield. There is no question they can compete."

"We've had one-and-a-half week's preparation and we've got young lads who are 20 and 21 years old making their debuts at Twickenham against the All Blacks - that's a positive," Lancaster continued.

"The performance of the pack was excellent - it couldn't have been far off 100% line-out. We put a lot of pressure on their ball and there was some good rugby on show in the first half.

"We missed one opportunity in the first half which could have made a difference.

"We need to work on the accuracy of our kicking, the pressure we put on ourselves playing in and around our halfway line.

England's Jonny May
Jonny May scored his first try for England in his eighth appearance

"When the weather turned New Zealand maximised that opportunity well and when the hooker was in the sin-bin they managed that well as well.

"We couldn't get the territory to get close to them in the second half."

New Zealand's match-day squad had 1,023 caps compared to England's total of 437 before kick-off, but Lancaster's counterpart Steve Hansen does not believe his side's greater experience was the decisive factor.

"If your team has more caps than the other and you lose they tell you they are too old and should retire - it's just an excuse," he said.

Back to Black
The All Blacks have only lost twice in 40 matches since becoming world champions in 2011.
England beat New Zealand at Twickenham in December 2012 for the first time in 10 attempts - but have lost the subsequent five meetings.
The All Blacks have won 32 of their 40 meetings with England, losing seven and drawing 26-26 in 1997.

"The big thing that changed in the second half was that we got a wee bit urgent.

"In that first half England were probably half a click in front of us the whole time, showed a bit more desperation and urgency to get to places."

May will recall his first England try with relish as he fizzed through a narrow gap down the left and then skinned full-back Israel Dagg on the outside.

The Gloucester wing said: "That has been coming for a while. I have kept going and getting opportunities, and that try put us in a good position. I will remember it forever."