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England captain Chris Robshaw: we let Twickenham crowd down

England will have to make history if they are to win the World Cup they are hosting. No team has won the tournament after losing a game in the group stage and every match is a knock-out one for them from now on, starting with Australia here on Saturday.

England could have drawn the match if their captain Chris Robshaw had chosen to kick a penalty with three minutes to go moments after Wales had taken the lead for the first time since the opening quarter, but he opted for a line-out which was repelled.

“I had a chat with the kickers and we decided that as it was a difficult penalty (from 30 metres, wide on the right), we would go for the lineout,” said Robshaw at the end of an evening when the place-kickers Owen Farrell and Dan Biggar had landed 15 kicks out of 15 between them.

“We had driven a couple of mauls well just before, but it was not to be. We wanted to go for the win, not a draw, but we now have to dig deep, find a big reaction and show some character. The crowd gave us a huge lift and I feel we let them down.”

It promises to be a testing week for the England head coach Stuart Lancaster who was widely criticised for tinkering with his back division for the Wales match, but he pointed out that the match had been lost by indiscipline at the breakdown which gave Biggar the opportunity to kick seven penalties and keep Wales in touch during large parts of the match when they were being outplayed.

“I am absolutely devastated,” said Lancaster. “We were playing so well and yet ended up losing. The decision about the penalty at the end is one for those who are in the middle of the action, but if you make the call you have to nail it. You can’t get a message on so it is irrelevant what I think. Games aren’t won and lost on one decision. We played well for long periods so to come away with a loss is gutting. We have to move on and everything comes down now to beating Australia on Saturday and I have already told the players that.

“There is still a lot of rugby to be played in the group. Wales have to face Fiji and Australia and the bonus points we have picked up may prove crucial. It is a test of character and we have to play well from now. I felt we did against Wales, especially in the first half, but our discipline let us down, especially at the breakdown, and that is something we have to look at.

Lancaster added: “There was an incredible atmosphere at the ground and I am disappointed for the fans. We were 10 points ahead at one point in the second-half and then 19-12 up. We should have been able to pull away and we were looking in control until Wales scored their try. Now is not the time to talk about it with the players but we will reinforce the indiscipline with the players on Monday.”

Like Wales, England lost a number of players to injury. The second row Courtney Lawes limped off at half-time, followed shortly after the break by the scrum-half Ben Youngs and the hooker Tom Youngs and the No 8 Billy Vunipola later left the field after treatment.

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“We will have to assess them,” said Lancaster. “We will have to roll up our sleeves pretty quickly and get ready for Australia. It has turned into a knock-out tournament for us now, but four years ago France lost two pool matches and still made the final. It was disappointing to lose to Wales, but I would have been disappointed with a draw and it is now about how we react.”


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