Elsewhere, England were pretty much second best at the breakdown against Wales and the two-six-and-a-halves against a genuine number seven (or two when Justin Tipuric came off the bench) shows no sign of abating.
Wales applied the Muhammad Ali rope-a-dope tactics but with no expectation of ever getting off the ropes to land the decisive blow. “At half-time we were in control and had momentum”.
On a night of such World Cup frustration against an obdurate Welsh side, the flyhalf stood out as a goliath, vindicating Lancaster’s faith in him, while all around had criticised his recall in place of the perceived more attacking threat of George Ford.
Imagine England were handed a penalty that would tie the game with a minute to go.
“As a kicker, if the decision as a group was to go for goal, then obviously you back yourself – that’s why you do the job”, Farrell said. “If you go there you have got to nail it”. It’s something to jump on.
He added: “It’s done now and we have to beat Australia by being on the front foot”. We get input in training.
His seven penalties and conversion ensured he overtook Neil Jenkins’s record of 22 points in a Rugby World Cup match against Japan in 1995. We came away from that game knowing we had to make fundamental changes to the way we play. It is a huge ask, and when you concede a dozen penalties, nigh-on impossible. What an incredible performance to have had the wherewithal to hang on in a game where they should have been beaten out of sight. “Ill discipline from us let them back in”.
“We have to learn from that”.
“There is absolutely no doubt this is knockout rugby but teams in the past have lost pool games and gone on to the final”, said Lancaster. We’ve got to be accurate and stamp our authority there as well.
“That’s what we will focus on”.
“He has to put confidence in the team and give them the courage to go out and play”.
‘Let’s have a meaningful discussion about his knowledge, about what he knows about the game.
The other outcome is that England lose to Australia but get two extra points for scoring four or more tries and losing by seven points or less.
“What we watched in the last 10 minutes was a confused debate between people who have never been given responsibility to lead and drive the team”. We started and finished well and were a bit patchy in between. Even Warren Gatland, the triumphant Wales coach, questioned the logic of it – and he was the man who benefited.
Meanwhile, it appears likely that Wales will need to summon squad replacements, with particular concerns about Scott Williams and Hallam Amos, which could mean a call-up for someone like experienced Gloucester back James Hook.
Easter, a veteran of the 2007 final against South Africa, was sent into worldwide exile early in 2012 after being identified as one of the ringleaders of the failed campaign in New Zealand when the team’s reputation had been stained by a series of off-field incidents. He was referring to that last lineout, but it applied to the game itself.
We have the players, we have the coaches, we have environment and we have the fans – now the excuses have to stop and we have to get out there and rebuild our World Cup challenge. They pulled England’s trousers down.