Stuart Lancaster refusing to make excuses ahead of New Zealand tour

Stuart Lancaster refusing to make excuses ahead of New Zealand tour

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The timing of the trip, with the first Test against the All Blacks coming just one week after the Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham this Saturday, has been the subject of widespread criticism.

With Saracens facing Northampton Saints in the Premiership showdown, Lancaster will be shorn of a number of his key players for the first match in Auckland on June 7, with the likes of Owen Farrell, Tom Wood and Courtney Lawes all turning out for their club sides.

However, upon arrival in New Zealand on Thursday, Lancaster insisted that the players who are available will be more than capable of getting a result against the 2011 World Cup winners.

“It’s not ideal when you come to play the world champions in their own backyard and you haven’t got your best side available,” he said. “But it’s a situation I inherited.

“We’re not going to sit and moan about it. When you look at the side we’ve got available for this first Test, virtually everyone has played international rugby in the last 12 months.

“We’re confident in the lads we’ve got and it will just add to my selection problems when (the other players) come out for the second Test.

“A lot of the players here have played the All Blacks twice now, and got a good win in 2012. They’re looking forward to pitching ourselves against the best again.”

England will face the All Blacks in the second Test on June 14 and then the final Test takes place seven days later, with a match against Crusaders on June 17 also scheduled.

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