Six Nations failures hurt Lancaster

2015-01-28 14:48
Stuart Lancaster (AFP)

London - Stuart Lancaster said England's failure to land the Six Nations championship on his watch "burns inside" as he prepares for his fourth tilt at the title after a hat-trick of second places.

England have won the Six Nations only once since winning the World Cup in 2003 -- in 2011 under Martin Johnson -- and with such a huge pool of talent to pick from, it is an unimpressive record.

"We are frustrated we haven't nailed down that championship win - it does burn inside us," Lancaster told reporters at the official tournament launch in London on Wednesday.

"But you have to earn the right to stamp your authority; there are a lot of good teams out there who will have the same motivation as us.

"We've been close a couple of times, when maybe the bounce of the ball another way could have made a difference."

England started with a somewhat unlucky defeat away to France last year but came back strongly to win their next four games and narrowly miss out on the title to Ireland on points difference

This year the face a similarly tough opener, in the tournament's first match, away to Wales on Friday Feb. 6.

Two years ago England travelled to Cardiff hoping for a grand slam but were demolished 30-3 in what has since turned out to be one of the pivotal games of Lancaster's tenure.

"There have been a few big pressure games, last year at home to Wales because of the World Cup (being in the same pool for 2015) was a big one," he said.

"But that was an important game two years ago and it's right that you probably learn more from your defeats than your victories."

Lancaster said that, after three years in the job and the World Cup now only eight months away, the "development phase" was over and it was all about results.

However, such is the rash of injuries he has had to deal with this season that he is still some way from being able to select a settled side.

Midfield remains a minefield with Manu Tuilagi likely to miss the whole tournament and Brad Barritt, Luther Burrell and Kyle Eastmond all fighting to overcome knocks, leaving Billy Twelvetrees and Jonathan Joseph likely to be wrapped in cotton wool in training this week.

The good news for Lancaster, however, is that his pack, particularly the front row, has real strength in depth and is a match for anyone.

"We got to the stage where we want performances to lead to wins," Lancaster said. "Whatever takes to win we'll try to achieve it."

Read more on:    six nations  |  stuart lancaster  |  rugby


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