Lancaster to focus on backline after All Black mauling

New Zealand 28 England 27

Lancaster to focus on backline after All Black mauling

Half-backs Owen Farrell and Danny Care and centre pairing Billy Twelvetrees and Luther Burrell picked up knocks in Saturday’s series-deciding 28-27 defeat in Dunedin.

Farrell (knee), Care (shoulder), Twelvetrees (ankle) and Burrell (ankle) effectively have until Tuesday, when the team is decided, to prove their readiness to face the All Blacks.

And Lancaster is unlikely to persevere with the experiment of playing Manu Tuilagi on the wing, paving the way for his restoration at outside centre with Chris Ashton filling the No 14 jersey.

Seven days after scattering the All Blacks at Eden Park, Tuilagi had been blunted by the move to his new position and his inability to out-sprint Ben Smith was telling.

Lancaster justifiably stresses that it was a far from disastrous evening for the 23-year-old, but said there is no mileage in his retention out wide.

“Manu is certainly a very good option for us at 13 and I don’t think he let anyone down at all on the wing,” Lancaster said. “I certainly think we need to make sure we have it as an option, there’s no doubt about it.

“Manu playing on the right wing was certainly not the reason why we went through that period of 20 minutes when the All Blacks increased their intensity and pressure.”

If Tuilagi returns to the midfield he could be joined by Kyle Eastmond, who Lancaster identifies as a “genuine contender for next weekend, definitely”.

England were well beaten even if the scoreline suggests otherwise with three tries in 11 third-quarter minutes from Ben Smith, Julian Savea and Ma’a Nonu sweeping New Zealand clear.

“I don’t feel deflated. I feel frustrated that we’ve not managed to get the win that a lot of our players deserved,” Lancaster said.

Scorers for New Zealand: Tries: B Smith, Savea, Nonu. Cons: Cruden, Barrett. Pens: Cruden 2, Barrett.

Scorers for England: Tries: Yarde, Brown, Ashton. Cons: Farrell 3. Pens: Farrell 2.

NEW ZEALAND: B Smith, Jane, C Smith, Nonu, Savea, Cruden, Woodcock, Coles, O Franks, Retallick, Whitelock, Messam, McCaw, Kaino, A Smith.

Replacements: Barrett for Cruden (51), Crockett for Woodcock (66), Mealamu for Coles (60), Faumuina for O Franks (66), Tuipulotu for Retallick (78), Vito for Messam (71), Perenara for A Smith (80).

ENGLAND: Brown, Tuilagi, Burrell, Twelvetrees, Yarde, Farrell, Marler, Webber, Wilson, Launchbury, Parling, Wood, Robshaw, Morgan, Care.

Replacements: Ashton for Burrell (80), Youngs for Marler (72), Hartley for Webber (48), Lawes for Launchbury (57), Vunipola for Morgan (57), Mullan for Care (73).

Referee:Jaco Peyper (South Africa).

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