England 28 South Africa 31: Stuart Lancaster admits to feeling the pressure after loss

England have now lost five successive matches

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The Independent Online

Stuart Lancaster will make changes to the England starting line-up for this weekend’s meeting with Samoa at Twickenham and will not hesitate to stick with the new faces against the Wallabies in the last autumn international if they produce the goods for a team in poor shape after five successive defeats. “The pressure is clearly on us because we’re not meeting our objectives,” the head coach admitted after Saturday’s loss to South Africa.

Lancaster said the twin priorities of “winning in the short term while developing a side for the long term” were proving difficult to reconcile and acknowledged that the heat was building. But he also argued that England made life unnecessarily hard for themselves against the Boks.

“The South Africans didn’t play any more rugby than we did in a tight game,” he said. “The trouble was that we played in the wrong areas of the field. Also, I’ll be making it plain that we can’t afford to give away soft penalties and we can’t afford to have people in the sin bin.”

The last comment was a reference to Dylan Hartley’s stamp on the tourists’ No 8 Duane Vermeulen – a rash act that left England a man short up front just when they were beginning to boss the close-quarter exchanges.


The Samoans were arriving in London last night after their weekend victory over Canada. The players, deep in dispute with their own governing body over a range of financial and management issues, have withdrawn a strike threat and will fulfil the England fixture, but one of their most experienced forwards, the London Irish lock Dan Leo, said: “We believe enough is enough.”