James Mortimer 13.Nov.2012Getty Images
Lancaster’s England had a near perfect hit out in the first test of the end of year Test matches, defeating Fiji 54-12 in a match that had the Red Rose playing scintillating attacking rugby at stages despite the Pacific Islander’s best attempts to turn it into a pseudo-Sevens contest.
Under the Leeds hard man England have looked transformed, playing solid rugby that has many elements of ‘back to basics’ about it, an ethos that has helped Lancaster revive English rugby after a less than ideal 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign affected the world’s richest rugby union.
However England look to play with more purpose now, although Lancaster’s more stoic England still obviously has a desire to continue evolving and play picture perfect rugby.
Just, as Lancaster said, the All Blacks did in their withering period before halftime against Scotland, scoring three quick tries en route to a 51-22 victory over England's oldest foe.
“For a period before halftime they (the World Champions) played outstanding rugby,” he said.
“The ability for all 15 players to handle and move the ball was the beauty of their performance. They showed why they are the No.1 team in the world at the moment.
When Lancaster first came on board as England coach, essentially a caretaker before being given the role full-time, he said he would create an England that would be comfortable grinding out the hard yards, but perhaps the All Blacks performance has given Lancaster food for thought.
“I am sure every country is thinking 'we need to develop the skills of our players so everyone is comfortable on the ball and everyone can execute',” he said.
England face the All Blacks in the fourth test of their Air New Zealand End of Year tour, but the next visitors to Twickenham would be the Wallabies.
South African born centre Brad Barritt said that a heavy loss to France meant nothing.
“If they can draw with the All Blacks, who are the No.1 team in the world,” Barritt said.
“(Then) that shows what they can produce on the day.”