England 14-20 Australia, Twickenham, November 17
Flood demands composure from England
November 18, 2012
England fly-half Toby Flood was unable to inspire his side to victory over Australia at Twickenham © PA Photos
England fly-half Toby Flood believes his side deserved to lose to Australia at Twickenham on Saturday because they were second best in nearly every aspect of the game.
The Wallabies bounced back from their mauling at the hands of France the previous weekend to reclaim the Cook Cup with a deserved 20-14 victory at English rugby's HQ. England struggled to breakdown the visitors' resolute defence and crucially saw decisions to turn down several kicks at goal in the hope of securing a game-changing try fail to pay off.
"I can 't remember the last time I felt this frustrated after a Test match," Flood wrote in his column for the Mail on Sunday. "A win was there for the taking. Instead we lost, and we deserved to lose, because they were better than us in many areas: from a skills point of view; from decision-making and, most of all, with how they managed the game.
"You can talk about positives but you have to be honest in rugby and the truth is this is a big blow. We came into this game full of confidence after drawing with South Africa last June, and then putting 50 points on Fiji last week. It hadn't been the perfect performance but it laid a good foundation. Instead we came second because we just weren't good enough on the day."
England's decision-making was called into question following the game but Flood refused to point the finger at scrum-half Danny Care and his replacement Ben Youngs. "There are a number of factors why Australia won," he said. "We had issues at the breakdown and we had issues holding on to the ball and we had issues with some of our skills but that's because we were always trying to force the issue, rather than be patient, and that led to mistakes.
"I guess people will highlight some of the penalties spurned. Our scrum-halves are both instinctive players like all good scrum-halves should be, and although I would have backed myself to have kicked those three points at the end of the first half, Danny Care's decision to take a quick tap led to Manu Tuilagi's try. It didn't quite work out the same though when Ben Youngs also tapped quickly and went with 11 minutes remaining.
"Perhaps that was a time when the context of the game has to be taken into account and, although you never want to curb the instincts of an attacking No. 9, we need to work on our collective composure."
He added: "We should know how to deal with a situation like this but we are still making far too many mistakes under pressure and being caught out by sides who are taking their chances much better than us."
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