Wallabies leave England in purple daze

Captain Robshaw comes under fire for England's off-colour display


England's hopes of an autumn clean sweep, and breaking into the big league occupied by the southern hemisphere at the top of the world rankings, fell apart in a shattering defeat by Australia here.

The Wallabies were supposedly wobbling and ready to be ripped apart by England wing Chris Ashton, returning after he missed the seven-try rout of Fiji last weekend through suspension. But in a classy display of vastly improved scrummaging and dazzling footwork from playmakers Berrick Barnes and Kurtley Beale, the Aussies ripped up the formbook of their 33-6 mauling by France.

England's decision- making was slammed by former manager Sir Clive Woodward, who criticised the captain, Chris Robshaw, for refusing kicks at goal and playing for line-outs instead when Australia led by only six points with more than 20 minutes left. The result leaves England, playing in unfamiliar purple shirts yesterday, needing to beat South Africa and New Zealand in their remaining autumn Tests to have any chance of being among the top four seeds who will earn an easier pool in the draw for the 2015 World Cup, to be made in London on 3 December.

While Woodward, analysing for television, did not quibble with a later choice by replacement scrum-half Ben Youngs to tap and run, the 2003 World Cup-winning coach said the line-outs were wrong when the narrow points gap needed bridging. The chance for vindication was blown when England's No 8 Tom Waldrom lost control just as he was grounding the ball for a try.

England's head coach, Stuart Lancaster, stood up for his captain, saying: "We'll look at every decision but with the momentum at the time I thought it was the right decision. You back your players on the field. The momentum was with us and I thought we were going to score a try. If we are going to give players the confidence to go out and play we have to back them."

Robshaw made similar calls in Heineken Cup matches with his club Harlequins last season, going for scrums rather than points with mixed results against Gloucester and Connacht. And Youngs' recent tap-and-go that came to nothing when he was playing for Leicester in Toulouse had an echo when the same ploy led to England full-back Mike Brown being stripped of the ball by the Aussie defence.

Robshaw said: "You have to make sure that if you do go, you get points. That's a decision myself and the other game leaders have to have a look at. We scored a try once [in the first half through Manu Tuilagi], got turned over another time and nearly scored as well. We weren't clinical enough, we squandered some chances. We weren't clinical and you need to be when you play the best teams."

Former Wallaby great David Campese had called for the head of Australia's coach, Robbie Deans, during the week but "Dingo" Deans, the New Zealander now expected to keep his job through to next summer's British & Irish Lions tour Down Under, had the last laugh.

Deans explained England's refusal of goal-kicks, saying: "They wanted to win the game. We'd been more than competitive in terms of field position and they may have felt they wouldn't get that position again. You make these decisions in real time."

Fly-half and goalkicker Toby Flood, who booted three first-half penalties in addition to the try by centre Tuilagi from Danny Care's tapped penalty, revealed that the England pack had begged for the chance to go for a score from the line-out.

"I discussed it with Robbo [Robshaw] and gave them what they wanted," said Flood. "Large parts of this are fixable. The guys have got quality skills, it comes down to the execution. We're not going to beat ourselves up now – that will be done in the rest of the week."


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
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

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map