PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa – England failed to beat South Africa in their three June tests but the tour will prove beneficial in the long term, coach Stuart Lancaster said on Sunday.
England lost the first two tests of the series before claiming a credible draw in the third, while the tourists also managed two midweek wins against South Africa Barbarians teams.
Lancaster said the extended tour had proved invaluable as he continues to build his team. He was only appointed as full time coach in March after having been in charge during England’s Six Nations campaign on an interim basis.
“It’s been a fantastic opportunity for us to take a wider group of players and work with them and, for me, that has been the real benefit of the tour,” Lancaster told reporters in Port Elizabeth.
“I was able to get a real good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses and the areas we need to work on going forward.
“At this point we should, as a team, be getting to the point where we are competitive and wining every game. That has to be our mindset.
“We have now got a team of young players and experienced players coming through together in an environment that they enjoy, where the culture is strong. I think it augers well for the future,” he added.
Rugby Football Union (RFU) Chief Executive Ian Ritchie echoed Lancaster’s sentiments about the positives that could be taken from the tour of South Africa but said ultimately the tour would be judged on the results.
“We want to win every game and we look at what happened on the tour on that basis. That said, I think we achieved a lot.
“To come here and get a draw, together with the overall performance over the three tests, history proves how difficult it is to come here and win. But in all three tests we were competitive and we were committed,” said Ritchie.