Andrew lifts England to new heights


reports from Cape Town

England 25 Australia 22

England's utterly heroic rugby players depart today for a couple of days amid the delights of Sun City faced by the awesome knowledge that next they have to repeat, in fact improve on, yesterday's fantastic quarter- final performance at Newlands.

Such are the demands of World Cup rugby on mere mortals, though much more of this and Will Carling's team will become sporting immortals. Rob Andrew's majestic drop goal when everyone on and off the pitch had reached the limit of excruciation two minutes and 38 seconds into stoppage time exacted suitable revenge for the final defeat of four years ago.

But Andrew's dead eye also set England along an onward path which now brings them up against New Zealand back at Newlands next Sunday. The way the draw was remade in 1993 in favour of the southern-hemisphere countries gave England what would have been an impossibly severe succession of games if they had not already shown they really quite like sticking it up authority. Remember the 57 old farts?

In any case, the All Blacks having been shown by Scotland to have their fallibilities, England need not be daunted. But it is a measure of the job in hand that one of English rugby's supreme accomplishments should have been merely a step on a long road.

When Andrew dropped his decisive goal, Jack Rowell, the manager, was virtually in tears, and several of the anguished replacements had retreated to the dressing-room to escape the tension. Even the president of the Rugby Football Union, Dennis Easby, was moved to such emotion that at the death - which is what it felt like - he embraced Carling and even gave him a peck on the cheek.

This is the man who took it upon himself to sack England's captain for insubordination and then reinstate him two days later. A good job, too. It was obviously a subtle plot, because the squad have been drawn together as never before, not even during the halcyon days of the 1991 World Cup.

It would be tempting providence, even on this evidence, to imagine England could possibly go one better by winning it this time, but yesterday it became evident that the hesitant manner of England's rugby while they were winning Group B was no more than a means to an end.

Indeed you could argue that as much as anything this was a triumph of attitude over aptitude, and it is important to point out that when Bob Dwyer, Australia's coach, said afterwards that he was not a great admirer of the means by which the game had been won there was not a hint of sour grapes.

England, Andrew especially, did hoof the leather off the ball - which in Dwyer-speak means sticking to a game-plan. "When you play England, sometimes you come off wondering what happened, how did they win?" he said. "It's for people to play the way they want and not for me to tell them. But I personally don't find it as exciting as some other ways to play."

He cannot possibly have been holding up yesterday's Wallabies as a contrast, because they played it precisely the same. It did not matter because the game showed, one might say proved, that rugby does not have to be pretty to be pretty damn enthralling. "The best thing to do when you lose is to take it graciously; we always do," Rowell said, though his experience of that with England amounts only to last year's second Test against the Springboks here.

"That game was very tense and I didn't see Australia playing any scintillating rugby. We had a good first 20 minutes and if we'd been able to build on it you would have seen the England game expand as we had planned. Anyone who sees us train knows we train to play 15-man rugby. It's as simple and as difficult as that."

Exactly so. The Wallabies were quite as negative, if that is the word, as England but it would be a stupendous achievement for any team to apply themselves to expansive rugby in such circumstances. As Carling said: "None of us had ever been through anything like that."

The narrative is easier to relate than it was to sit through the events it describes. A positive start appeared to have been rendered worthless when Michael Lynagh kicked a penalty the first time Australia attacked but, as they managed throughout, England used the adversity as a stimulus and within two minutes Andrew had the first of his five penalties.

Until its last gasp the rest of the first half was England's. Andrew's second penalty was followed after 20 minutes by a Tony Underwood try which was as fine an example of instinctive counter-attacking, of the exploitation of a precious opportunity, as you will see.

As was their tendency, the Wallabies were cluttered up in midfield when Lynagh lost the ball close to the England 22. In a trice Andrew had fed Jeremy Guscott, and his and Carling's perfectly timed passes gave their wing the ball on halfway. Though Damian Smith laid hands on Underwood's neck he jubilantly broke free to score.

Andrew converted to give England a 10-point lead which was reduced by a Lynagh penalty in injury time and eradicated when, with 36 seconds of the second half elapsed, Lynagh hoisted a tantalising kick to the line which found Smith rather than Mike Catt and Tony Underwood underneath.

From here every thrust was followed by a counter-thrust. Lynagh converted, Andrew landed another penalty, Lynagh two more and Andrew his fourth to tie the score at 19-19. There were 15 minutes left when Lynagh kicked his fifth, four when Andrew kicked his fifth and seconds when the drop- shot soared into the stands.

It was Andrew's 20th for England and his points record now stands at 358. So what? This was a team effort personified by an individual. It had been breathless and breathtaking. It was absolutely, fabulously, unforgettable.

ENGLAND: M Catt (Bath); T Underwood (Leicester), W Carling (Harlequins, capt), J Guscott (Bath), R Underwood (Leicester); R Andrew (Wasps), D Morris (Orrell); J Leonard, B Moore (Harlequins), V Ubogu (Bath), M Johnson (Leicester), M Bayfield, T Rodber (Northampton), D Richards (Leicester), B Clarke (Bath). Temporary substitute: S Ojomoh (Bath) for Richards, 31- 38.

AUSTRALIA: M Burke, D Campese (New South Wales), J Little, T Horan, D Smith; M Lynagh (Queensland, capt), G Gregan (Australian Capital Territory); D Crowley (Queensland), P Kearns, E McKenzie (NSW), R McCall, J Eales (Queensland), W Ofahengaue, T Gavin (NSW), D Wilson (Queensland).

Referee: D Bishop (New Zealand).


England 24 Argentina 18

England insist they will never again put up such a gormless show. Guardian

England running game runs out of steam. Independent

We can only improve or we are going home faster than we came out here. Jack Rowell

Appalling. Rob Andrew

England 27 Italy 20

Pedestrian England stuck on the road to nowhere. Telegraph

Gutless. Star

Another dismal performance. Paul Ackford

At least we took a step forward but mysteriously we still seem to lack a killer instinct. Rowell

England 44 W Samoa 22

Bring on Aussies. Sun

We are getting up to the standard required in this World Cup. Will Carling

England put 44 past Western Samoa. If anyone says he backed them to do that he must have been in solitary confinement for the past two weeks. Mail

England finally produced a performance worthy of their status among the favourites. Independent

England 25 Australia 22

A great game. A truly great game. Carling

We are all a bit shell-shocked. Andrew

Disappointment is too light a word to describe the way we feel. Michael Lynagh

It was a superb all-round display, unbelievable. Andrew

We couldn't really see a way out of it at one point. But it was a huge effort from the team and I'm very proud of them. Carling

That's one of the matches of all time, as far as I'm concerned. There were two giants out there. Rowell

Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Flat out: Michael Flatley will return to the stage in his show Lord Of The Dance
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Insight Manager - Marketing

£32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux, Redhat, Solaris, SAN, Puppet

£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux / Redhat / Solaris / Puppet / SAN

£65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape