June International Tours

Lancaster: England are ready for South Africa



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England head coach Stuart Lancaster has said that he cannot think of a reason why England will not be ready for South Africa when the two teams meet in Durban this weekend.

England will start their three match tour of South Africa this weekend after spending almost two weeks together in preparation for the first Test.

The Springboks will have home advantage in the series but they will have less than a week to prepare for the match due to the players having to play Super Rugby a week before the first Test.

Both teams are expected to field some new combinations after the Springboks have had some retirements while a number of England players have missed the tour due to injury.

Lancaster said that he was disappointed that players like Tom Wood, Tom Croft, Courtney Lawes were not available for the tour but he has backed the players he has taken on tour.

“There is no reason I can think of why we shouldn’t be ready for these Test matches,” Lancaster told Sky.

“We are obviously missing a couple of key players, as South Africa are.

“It would have been great if Tom Wood, Tom Croft, Courtney Lawes et al could have been here, but the players are fresh, hungry and really looking forward to the games.”

Lancaster coached England ins the Six Nations but this will be his first match in charge of the England team on a permanent basis and he is taking nothing for granted.

“The Springboks have had limited preparation time together after the games this weekend but they have got a core of players who played not only at the World Cup, but prior to then,” continued the ex-Leeds boss.

“So while they may have had little preparation time with the new coach there will be a common understanding and philosophy I am sure they will be able to play to.

“Any side that plays South Africa at home, irrespective of their preparation time, are going to find them very difficult opposition.

“You have to respect the physicality and the challenge the South Africans pose, but you have got to impose your own game on them.

“What I tried to express to the players during the Six Nations was these were fantastic opportunities to develop and grow the team.

“We want to take the opportunity without fearing it, enjoy the occasion and hope to play some rugby along the way.”

Lancaster has re-built England following the Rugby world Cup and led the team to second place in the Six nations.

South Africa also have a new coach in former Leicester Tigers boss Heyneke Meyer but although the team won’t have played together under the new coach Lancaster says that they will learn quickly.

“It is a very similar position to when we announced our new squad for the Six Nations. We had 15 new players coming in and about 10 days to prepare properly for the first game.

“You focus on the reason why you want to play for each other and back the sense of ‘teamship’ and you have also got to focus on the technical and tactical aspects as well.

“But I am sure they will be very well prepared for us. They had plenty of time to look at us in the Six Nations.

“We have got eight or nine Leicester players who have worked under him (Meyer), so we have got an insight into him as a coach.

“But equally, the beauty of this tour is that we play each other three times in three weeks.

“We are going to know each other inside out by the end of it. It is more about who learns quickly during the games.”

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