With half an hour remaining England looked on course to put themselves on the cusp of escaping the “pool of death” as they led Wales 22-12 thanks to a try from Gloucester Rugby’s Jonny May with Saracen Owen Farrell kicking the rest of the points.
Youngs insisted that Stuart Lancaster’s side must push the defeat from their minds and realise the importance of the repeat of the 2003 final if they are to emerge victorious next Saturday. We came away from that game knowing we had to make fundamental changes to the way we play.
England suffered a major setback in their bid to become Rugby World Cup champions after Wales came from behind in the last ten minutes to claim a 28-25 win on Saturday.
But four years ago France lost twice in the pool stage only to reach the World Cup final, where they were beaten by New Zealand.
“I expect them to kick a lot of ball to us, particularly high contestable kicks, so our high ball catching under pressure will need to be accurate”.
Robshaw came under immediate fire from experts and on social media for a gamble which backfired, but in truth earlier mistakes by his team, which had dominated for much of the match and led by 10 points at halftime, were the decisive factor.
“I am very convinced we can still make it”, said the Leicester Tigers hooker. We’ve spoken that if we win today and win against Fiji, then England against Australia is absolutely huge and the pool could be over by then.
England’s propensity for conceding needless penalties at the breakdown also has to be a worry as they prepare for Saturday’s pivotal meeting with Australia.
“I don’t know where Lancaster goes now”.
Fiji have so far lost two players through injury with prop Isei Colati and wing Waisea Nayacalevu, but Matson said they have taken heart from the way Wales overcame a horror run of injuries to overpower England.
If Vunipola and Morgan are ruled out and Wood is cited and subsequently suspended, England will be facing a crisis in the back row with Chris Robshaw and James Haskell their only recognised options in the position, although Sam Burgess has played at blindside flanker for Bath.
Since that tournament the 30-year-old has made just three starts for his country – autumn internationals against Argentina and Tonga, and in the first World Cup warm-up against Ireland, after which he was axed. “He was excellent against Wales but unfortunately he got caught under a maul”, Farrell said.
“More than the result itself, the character the team showed was a big thing for us”. “We gave some dumb ones away which allowed them to keep in the game”, he said. “But we have cost ourselves and that is why it is more disappointing”.
But England hooker Tom Youngs warned Australia, recent winners of the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship, were a real threat up front.