England head coach Stuart Lancaster rues errors in All Blacks loss
An under-strength England team were superb throughout the contest at Eden Park, but eventually went down to a 20-15 defeat thanks to a late try from All Blacks centre Conrad Smith.
Lancaster’s side were level at 12-12 with 11 minutes remaining, but Marland Yarde was then sin-binned for deliberately killing the ball after Brodie Retallick had gained 30 metres upon collecting a loose ball.
Aaron Cruden put the hosts ahead from the resulting penalty, before replacement Danny Cipriani kicked England level in his first international appearance for six years.
However, the visitors were left heartbroken when some quick-thinking from Cruden, who opted to take a quick tap rather than kicking for goal, led to Smith going over, extending the All Blacks’ 20-year winning run at Eden Park.
Despite a positive performance from an England team missing several first XV regulars, Lancaster was left disappointed with the outcome.
“At 15-all it’s all about territory and how you manage the game and close out the game,” he said.
“I think we had opportunities in between our 22 and halfway to perhaps clear our lines a bit and play down there and put the pressure on them.
“In tight games it’s a drop goal or penalty chance that wins it. Unfortunately they got a penalty and tapped and went and ultimately got the try.
“It was fine margins. Frustration is probably the overriding emotion in the changing room.”
Lancaster is already looking ahead to next Saturday’s second Test in Dunedin.
“What we’ve got to do as a coaching team is bottle that frustration and turn it into a real positive mindset going into next week.
“It’s a massive game for us now because we’ve always come into this Test series believing we can (win it) but you’ve got to deliver.”
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