New Zealand v England: Stuart Lancaster proud despite defeat at Eden Park
Last Updated: 08/06/14 7:03am
Stuart Lancaster and England captain Chris Robshaw both spoke of their pride after suffering late defeat to New Zealand on Saturday, with both also feeling they deserved more from the first Test.
England matched the All Blacks punch for punch and were level going into the dying minutes, when a 78th-minute try from Conrad Smith completed a 15th successive victory for the All Blacks.
England had Marland yarde yellow carded on 69 minutes and the 14 men bravely held their own right until the death, and the manner of the display has given both coach and captain huge confidence going into the second two Tests of the series.
The 20-15 success means New Zealand's two-decade triumphant run at Eden Park continues, and Lancaster had mixed emotions after the final whistle with both pride but disappointment.
"It's really disappointing. To come to Eden Park and lose at the end is heart-breaking. I thought a draw was a fair result,” Lancaster told Sky Sports.
"I'm frustrated and proud in equal measure. I'm proud of the lads out there, it was a fantastic effort, it's just a shame we couldn't nail it."
"There was some great attacking and our defence was strong but once or twice we could have relieved the pressure in middle area and put the pressure back on them.
"There's frustration at having not got across the line despite having done so much good work to achieve a draw or potentially even a win.
"We created lots of opportunities. We made line breaks, broke the gainline. Our set piece was good, but it's fine margins.
"The over-riding emotion in the changing room is frustration. What we must do as a coaching team is bottle that frustration and turn it into a positive mindset for next week.
"It definitely feels like we missed a chance. At 15-15 it's all about territory and how you manage and close out the game.”
Lancaster is looking forward to the second Test, adding: "There are one or two things we can improve on and there are one or two high-quality players sat in the stand who will be itching to have an opportunity too."
Lancaster's players agreed with his verdict on the outcome of the Auckland contest.
Chris Robshaw said: "To come here and come so close is pretty gutting.
"But it's a three-game series. We're disappointed today but we'll come back with all guns blazing."
Fly-half Freddie Burns said: "Give the All Blacks credit - give them an opportunity and they generally take it. But we're massively disappointed. Our set-piece went well, especially the scrum. We could have won."
Second row Geoff Parling continued: "It was a good performance, we should be proud of. It was there for the taking, if a few calls had gone our way we would have got the win."