Rugby World Cup 2011
Cueto defends England's style of play
ESPNscrum Staff
October 18, 2011
England's Mark Cueto goes over for his hat-trick score against Romania, England v Romania, Rugby World Cup, Otago Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand, September 24, 2011
Mark Cueto has defended England's style of play in New Zealand © Getty Images

Mark Cueto believes that England have been unfairly criticised for their performances during the Rugby World Cup.

Martin Johnson's side bowed out at the quarter-final stage and few neutrals were sorry to see them go on account of their dour brand of 10-man rugby. Cueto acknowledges that England did not excel in New Zealand, but he feels that pundits and supporters alike need to understand that Test rugby is far from easy.

"No team wants to play boring rugby," the winger told BBC Sport. "But everyone you come up against at international level is good opposition and that makes it harder."

And that is why England were forced to embrace a win-at-all-costs mentality over a desire to play open, attacking rugby.

"No-one cares about how you're playing if you're getting results," he said. "The result is the priority, the performance is number two. That's rugby, that's the way it always has been and that's the way it always will be."

Cueto's Sale Sharks team-mate Andrew Sheridan, who suffered a tournament-ending shoulder injury against Argentina, is also of the opinion that much of the criticism England have received has been unwarranted.

"It's clear we didn't play to our potential but I don't think we were horrendous," the prop said. We lost one game. We didn't play as well as we could have done and had a couple of defensive lapses against France but we won the Six Nations and had some good successes the previous autumn.

"There's no reason we can't build on some of that success and put some of this disappointment behind us and go on in a positive light."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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