Tom Youngs: England players are behind captain Chris Robshaw

Published: Sunday 27th September 2015 by The News Editor

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Tom Youngs insists England are fully behind Chris Robshaw following a calamitous World Cup defeat that has thrust his captaincy back under the spotlight.

Stuart Lancaster’s men were stunned 28-25 by Wales at Twickenham and must topple Australia on Saturday if they are to avoid becoming the first host nation to fail to reach the knockout stage.

The Pool A table would have made for better reading had England landed a 78th-minute penalty from the touchline to draw the match, but Owen Farrell was not given that opportunity after Robshaw opted for an attacking line-out instead.

Farrell stated later that it was a collective decision, but there were shades of South Africa in 2012 when Robshaw made the wrong call and once again the Harlequins openside has been strongly criticised.

When asked if Robshaw would now have the weight of the world on his shoulders, Youngs replied: “Not from us he won’t.

“It’s not about rallying around Chris, it’s about rallying around each other and making sure we’re going in the right direction.”

After four successive runners-up finishes in the RBS 6 Nations, England ended the biggest match of Lancaster’s tenure aghast at yet another near-miss having led Wales by 10 points with half an hour remaining.

Dan Biggar kicked a 50-metre penalty that secured Warren Gatland’s men the most precious of victories, but it was the slack defending that enabled Gareth Davies to cross under the posts and hair-brained indiscipline that offered the flawless Biggar repeated sight of the posts that did the real damage.

“Obviously with a 10-point lead, you’ve got to look back and see where it went wrong,” Youngs said.

“Yeah there was so much at stake and we have a massive challenge next weekend so we have to get rid of what happened and move on as quickly as we can.

“I’m very convinced we can still make the quarter-finals. What gives me that belief is all the hard work we’ve done over the last 12 to 13 weeks and all the work we’ve done before that.

“We’re a tight-knit group. It’s a challenge and one we’ll accept and look forward to.”

Instead of issuing a statement of intent in the 127th meeting between the rivals, England must now conduct an inquest into their Twickenham implosion knowing the repercussions of a repeat performance and outcome against Australia are unthinkable.

“People are going to be harsh and it’s going to be pretty cut-throat in the next few days after throwing away what was potentially a victory,” flanker James Haskell said.

“Our discipline cost us the game and that is really disappointing. We have cost ourselves and that is why it is more frustrating. We can’t get ahead and show great ability and then shoot ourselves in the foot.

“The Australia game is now going to be like a final. Everyone involved will have to imagine it’s the last time they pull the white shirt on, it’s got to be like that. We have to leave it all out there.”

Along with a disbelieving Twickenham that reacted to a compelling match by generating one of the best atmospheres experienced at the home of English rugby, second row Geoff Parling questioned how victory became defeat.

“I’m completely p***** off and gutted. We felt very comfortable at half-time. We had all the momentum in the first half and our set piece was going really well,” Parling said.

“We were really getting stuck into them, but the second half was completely the opposite. Our discipline was poor, we didn’t consolidate our points and they got back in it. I can’t believe we lost that Test match.”

Published: Sunday 27th September 2015 by The News Editor

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