England’s loss to Wales this weekend has come as a huge hammer blow to their hopes of making it out of Pool A, however all’s not lost. Stuart Lancaster will be keen to avoid becoming the first host nation to fail to make the knock-out stages, however at this stage there isn’t too much to panic about.
First of all though I feel it is important to congratulate the Welsh side on an incredible victory in difficult circumstances. With a makeshift backline they battled back and deservedly won the game against England at ‘Fortress Twickenham’. Anyway, here’s why there’s no need for England fans to panic…
1.There is still every chance of making it out of the pool
It’s definitely not going to be an easy task, but there is still a lot of rugby to be played before anything is confirmed. If England can beat Australia this weekend then they will give themselves a really good chance of making the quarterfinals, especially given the Wallabies failed to claim a bonus point against Fiji.
2.England’s recent record against the Wallabies at Twickenham is pretty good
Although the Wallabies current side is in much better shape than the one England have recently faced, Stuart Lancaster’s sides record is still pretty good. There’s no doubting it’s a big ask, but England are in with every chance of claiming victory this weekend, especially if they start playing to their strengths.
3.The result will be a kick up the arse
It may not be ideal, but in some ways the loss to Wales may come as something of a blessing in disguise. You only have to look at the Springboks much improved performance this weekend to see how a loss can kick a team into gear. It’s also important to remember England lost their opener to South Africa in 2007 but still made the final.
4.They won’t make the same mistakes again
There’s no way around it, England’s decision (note it was a team decision, not just Chris Robshaws) to kick for the corner rather than go for the three points will likely haunt them for some time, but the reality is that they’re unlikely to make the same mistake twice. Should there be such a moment again then you can be fairly certain they will make a better decision.
5.There was only three points in it
Look, a loss is a loss, whether by one point or 50. That being said, to lose to such a close rival by a single penalty hardly constitutes a major panic. One less infringement at the breakdown, a miss by Dan Biggar, or even a different bounce of the ball could have made the difference between a win and a loss.