“It’s very early still”, Lancaster said.
England CAN beat Australia and CAN top the group – but it is going to be one hell of an ask.
England led 16-9 at the break and Lancaster said: “We were accurate in the first half, we looked threatening in attack and we made good decisions, whether to kick or run”.
England lost 28-25 at Twickenham after turning down a shot at goal from the touchline with less than two minutes remaining, opting instead to go for a line-out and a chance to win the game. “They made the decision and they’ve all said that they back the decision”.
The media has been scathing in its assessment, from the roaring Daily Mail headline of “Amateurs” to Will Carling condemning Lancaster as a former teacher who has created a schoolroom atmosphere. Moving on. Gutted. Crushed. Desolate. Wrecked. The Welsh assistant coach kicked six penalties and two conversions for a match tally of 22 points in the 32-31 victory at Wembley in 1999 that denied England the Grand Slam. “It has to stop today. It stops today. We learn to move on”. It says a lot about Warren Gatland and his coaching and conditioning staff that they hung in there and finished so strongly but what is next is an even bigger test for them. “But England opened the door for them”.
“Lessons learned, definitely”, he said of the Wales loss.
“They are all in or around the breakdown”. There was still time for the hosts and the look on Sam Warburton’s face when he gave away a 77th-minute penalty told you everything.
Farrell had kicked perfectly all night and a successful attempt would have resulted in a draw that could have proved decisive come Pool A’s final reckoning. “It’s in our hands”.
“For 55 minutes we dominated the game and devastated that we let the game slip”.
Nick Easter, who partnered Corry in the back row in 2007, was called in to replace Vunipola, and he immediately sized up the challenge England will meet at Twickenham.
Courtney (Lawes) has not trained today and won’t train tomorrow. “It’s not a revolution they need now, it’s a couple of minor adjustments”. “Wales have to play Fiji and Australia, but our game against Australia is a knockout match really”, he added. “It was a collective error that may haunt them for the rest of their lives”. There has been nothing minimal from the hosts in this sorry saga.
“The Pocock and Hooper scenario is going to be huge”.
“We’ll have to be at our best because I was impressed by what they did in the Rugby Championship and how much they’ve improved”.
Farrell bridled several times, throwing the questions back.
The judgement enables Wood, who apologised to Williams and insisted the act was accidental, to play in the defining match of Lancaster’s reign to date.
“Yes”, came the one-word reply. “You’d be pretty happy, wouldn’t you”, quipped Lancaster, before launching into a cry from the heart for the nation to wrap itself in the flag.
“It’s not about rallying around Chris, it’s about rallying around each other and making sure we’re going in the right direction”. “We’ve done it before”, he said. I think the selection this weekend was a team not to lose, but we have to throw everything at Australia. We didn’t at such a crucial stage and only Lancaster knows why he did.