With England Rugby making an early exit from their home World Cup, we look back at the Australia game before starting our series on where it all went wrong for the host nation. England have the chance to write the wrongs in-front of the 2016 Six Nations hospitality guests when they take on Wales and Ireland at Twickenham. Don’t miss out on our official Twickenham hospitality for these two huge encounters.
You sadly have to admit that England were dreadful. To be thrashed by Australia and dumped out of our own World Cup was just so depressing. But England deserved nothing better because they never came to play in this tournament.
The philosophy was negative from the start – defence paramount, capitalise on opposition mistakes, look to brawn and not brains.
As this column said from the outset, that is an abject way to go into a competition which is the pinnacle of the game. 13-33 did not flatter the Australians. They were by far the better side.
Pocock and Hooper dominated the England back row, attacking three quarters shredded England and the home side was even beaten up front. It didn’t have to be this way.
I feel sorry for the talented players who were never even picked for the squad because England coach Stuart Lancaster didn’t have the courage to play expansive rugby.
No Danny Cipriani at fly half. A gifted individual who has X-factor; someone who can conjure things out of nothing.
Why not play Kyle Eastmond, Billy Twelvetrees, Luther Burrell, Henry Slade or Jack Nowell at centre alongside Jonathan Joseph? They can make things happen.
Instead we had the one dimensional Brad Barritt and Sam Burgess.
Burgess was an embarrassment – he should never have been there. A rugby league convert just months into his union career and not even deemed a centre by Bath who play him as a wing forward. He did not deserve his fate. Blame terrible selection.
Plus Steffon Armitage, presumably watching on television, denied to Lancaster because stupid England won’t pick those plying their trade overseas, France in Armitage’s case.
The reality is that Lancaster bottled it while ‘leader’ Chris Robshaw, a hard worker who tried his best within his limited capabilities, is surely not worth his place, never mind being captain.
The England three quarter line in the second half said it all – the dropped George Ford brought back at fly half, fly half Owen Farrell switched to centre and centre Joseph on the wing. What a shambles! Smacked of desperation and panic.
The lesson to learn is this – you can’t win a World Cup without flair. Players get one shot at it every four years and this one was lost before anyone put a foot on the park. Cipriani will be 31 when it next comes round; this should have been his hour of greatness.
There was no lack of effort but effort is not enough at such an exalted level. The spoils go to the brave, the risk takers, those who set out to thrill.