Stuart Lancaster urges winning mentality

Stuart Lancaster, the England head coach looks on during the England captain's run at Twickenham Stadium on November 8, 2013
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England coach Stuart Lancaster urges his side to go into Saturday's match against world champions New Zealand believing that they can win.

England manager Stuart Lancaster has urged his side to go into Saturday's match against New Zealand believing that they can beat the reigning world champions.

The All Blacks are ranked as the world's number one side having beaten all-comers in the recent Rugby Championship, but their last visit to Twickenham ended in a record 38-21 defeat - their only loss in their last 33 matches.

England also go into the match in good form having won nine of their last 10 games, and Lancaster believes that his side will have to match the world's best if they are to stand any chance of winning the 2015 World Cup.

"New Zealand are a team apart, but if we want to be genuine World Cup contenders we've got to have the belief that we can win these games. There is the pressure and expectation of delivering against the best side in the world. To back ourselves to win a World Cup in England we have to have confidence to play sides like New Zealand," Lancaster told PA.

"We are playing them four times over the next six months. That will gives us a good barometer to see where we are. When you play the best team in the world you are in for a huge physical, mental and technical examination.

"They have gone to Johannesburg, Sydney and France and won. They are used to it. But we have won our last six games at home - we're a young side with a growing confidence within it."

Lancaster has named a relatively inexperienced squad for the Autumn Internationals, but he believes that the victories over Australia and Argentina will give his side plenty of confidence going into Saturday's showdown.

"We will still have a pretty young, inexperienced team come Saturday, but we will be hugely motivated by the greatest challenge in rugby. Last year, even though we'd lost two games when we played New Zealand we still had the strong self-belief that we could beat them," he added.

"Retaining your self-belief is the most important thing and sometimes, after losing a couple of games, it starts to waiver, but it never did at that point. Mentally, we are in the same place we were last year. We had that inner confidence last year and we've got the same inner confidence this time.

"But we still recognise that we've got to put in a level of performance that is above and beyond our wins against Australia and Argentina so far this autumn."

England's 15 players who beat Argentina last weekend shared just 287 caps between them, while the New Zealand side that beat France had 853 caps in their ranks.

Stuart Lancaster, the England head coach looks on during the England captain's run at Twickenham Stadium on November 8, 2013
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