England v South Africa: Stuart Lancaster will not panic

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England coach Stuart Lancaster regrets 'missed opportunity'

England head coach Stuart Lancaster says his team will not panic despite falling to a fifth successive defeat for the first time since 2006.

England were beaten 31-28 by South Africa, who held off a second-half comeback at Twickenham on Saturday.

The defeat followed a 24-21 loss against New Zealand last weekend.

"When you've got a team which has still got some development to do, we'll not panic, lose our nerve, or deviate from the course we're on," Lancaster said.

"We've never said we're the finished article. When we took the roles we knew we had to take a young group of players through some tough environments."

The 45-year-old, who was appointed in 2012 and signed a new contract last month that extends until 2020, added: "We've played the top two sides in the world now and that's the benchmark for us.

"I believe in the coaches, I believe in the players and I believe in what we're doing. "

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Highlights: England 28-31 South Africa

Before the start of the autumn internationals, the 2015 World Cup hosts had lost all three Test matches in New Zealand during the summer.

"This period of games was always going to be a tough one for us," Lancaster said.

"We had some non-availability and problems with selection at the start of that New Zealand tour, but you can't sit back and look at the 'what ifs'.

"The players we've got are good players and we've prepared well for this game. We've just come up a bit short."

England were punished for their mistakes in a poor first half against South Africa as the Springboks, looking to bounce back from defeat by Ireland, built a 20-6 lead.

Trailing by 14 points, England scored two tries while Victor Matfield was sin-binned to bring the match level at 20-20, but failed to drive home their momentum.

England captain Chris Robshaw
"We didn't get our game out there as much as we wanted to.
"It's a big week for us now. We do get frustrated with getting close in these games and it's something you have to work on and it takes time.
"We know what we need to go out and do, but we haven't been out there and executed it as a team on the pitch."

Lancaster defended his decision to delay bringing on replacements in key areas, such as fly-half and scrum-half.

"I felt at 20-20 it was beginning to go our way, so you probably don't want to make those changes at times like that," Lancaster said.

"But both George Ford and Ben Youngs did well when we did make changes. I thought Rob Webber did well, too. And, in fact, all the subs made an impact."

Under Lancaster, England have won just two of 13 matches against the southern hemisphere's big three of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The coach admits five successive defeats is a matter for concern.

"I think as a coach you accept that if you win the players get the credit and, if you lose, the coach gets the flak," he said.

"It's been a tough run against two world-class teams, but we need a win."

England look dejected after defeat by South Africa
England's players cut dejected figures after another narrow defeat by southern hemisphere opposition
England centre Kyle Eastmond
England centre Kyle Eastmond was unable to exert an influence on the match against South Africa

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