Lancaster: We'll learn from mauling
Stuart Lancaster vowed to hold his nerve and keep building a young England team towards the 2015 Rugby World Cup, despite the shattering experience of losing out on both the Grand Slam and Six Nations title.
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Wales stormed to a record 30-3 victory to retain the championship crown and inflict more last-day misery on England, who also lost Grand Slam deciders in 1990, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2011.
Sir Clive Woodward, who was in charge for three of those campaigns before going on to win the Rugby World Cup in 2003, claimed England's ''bubble has been burst'' and urged Lancaster to rethink his approach.
''To me, coaching England is (about) your next game. You are picking a team to win on Saturday. It is not about too much development. He has to take that on board now,'' Woodward said.
Lancaster conceded his side's inexperience proved costly against a Wales side who have now won four Six Nations titles in nine years - but he maintained England are on the right path.
''I do believe the journey we are on and the plan we have is the right one,'' Lancaster said.
''We had a lot of over 30-year-olds at the 2011 World Cup and we needed to develop new players.
''We have had more ups than downs. This is a down but we will hold our nerve and stick with the plan because I believe it will come good.
''No team goes unbeaten in international sport, as Wales can testify.
''The players are hugely disappointed. They feel they have let themselves down, that they have let the country down and it is a difficult place to be.
''I try and pull them back to the perspective that we had fewer than 300 caps going into a game of this magnitude and how much we have developed in the last 14 months.
''There is still an upward curve.''
Woodward praised Lancaster for leading England to the brink of a Grand Slam and he backed him to learn from the Cardiff setback - but he also warned of the need to be innovative.
''This was an eye opener,'' Woodward told Sportsweek on BBC Radio 5live.
''The rest of the world will look at that and say 'the bubble has been burst a little bit, we see who they are and what we have to do to beat them'.
''He has to look in the mirror and say 'what is the next stage?' He has done a great job but he has to learn his lessons.''
Lancaster intends to do exactly that. He has already identified the areas that need immediate development on the summer tour of Argentina, when a number of senior players will be on duty with the British and Irish Lions.
England need more options on the wing, with Christian Wade and Jonny May among those likely to be given a chance to put the pressure on Chris Ashton, who is horribly out of form, and Mike Brown.
Lancaster also wants to develop more heavy-duty back-row ball-carriers and the summer tour will be a chance for Wasps number eight Billy Vunipola to stake his claim.
''This leaves a huge motivation to make sure it doesn't happen again because it is a desperately disappointing place to be,'' Lancaster said.
''I'm hoping we will lose some players to the Lions, which will give us a chance to bring other lads in. It is probably also the right time in those midweek games and Tests to look at other lads and put pressure on lads in certain positions.
''What we need to create with England is greater strength in depth. We missed Ben Morgan as a ball-carrier up front and Billy Vunipola, who will come through.
''We've got some younger wingers who we want to have a look at on the summer tour, but it's about finding the right place and the right time to give them experience.''
Lancaster will enter a period of self-reflection before he begins to build towards the summer tour.
''It is not just about the players. We are all in it together. I need to look at what we did during the week and how we prepared for the game and everything else,'' he said.
''I will always look at myself first. It will be tough but I knew when I put my hand up for the job that there would be tough times along the way.
''I had some in South Africa (on the summer tour) and in the autumn internationals and you look inside yourself to see what you can do better.
''We want to make sure we take the lessons from this. It is difficult to take at the moment but long-term I think we will be better for this.''