Not that his wonderfully crooked hooter would allow it, but Mike Tindall was not about to let his nose grow by fibbing. Two weeks after marrying into the royal family, England's captain took responsibility for his team's failure. "It was my error that we should have taken a few more points in the first half," he said. "Our completion rate was not good enough."
The question of leadership vexes England. It can be a cliché but it was real enough in the final 10 minutes here, when Wales were down to 14 men with a seven-point lead. Lewis Moody had appeared the likely World Cup captain, but he injured a knee last week and is anyway a debatable choice as first-choice openside flanker.
We looked to see whether Tindall or the other skipper this year, Nick Easter at No 8, would get a grip. Easter set up a maul that was halted by a penalty to Wales for obstruction. Tindall and his backs had the ball but not the cohesion or inspiration.
Tindall is a defensive lynchpin but the stolidity of his pairing with Shontayne Hape means the identity of England's captain and their starting line-up are unknown, 15 days before they fly toNew Zealand.