Clive Woodward says that two blunders cost England dearly in their defeat to the All Blacks at Twickenham on Saturday.
England gave themselves their best chance of beating the All Blacks for the first time since 2013 when they raced to a 15-0 lead in the first half on Saturday. However, after narrowing the deficit to just five points at the break, the All Blacks came back to win the match 16-15.
Many pundits and former players have argued that England flank Sam Underhill’s disallowed try should have been allowed to stand after it was ruled out due to a prior offside call.
However, Woodward, who coached the side to the 2003 World Cup title, wrote in his column for the Daily Mail that England should have been able to see the game out after going ahead early on.
‘There were two blunders in particular which cost England dearly. Blunder one: England are 15-13 up in the second half and awarded a very kickable penalty — in Owen Farrell, they possess the world’s best place-kicker — so what to do?
‘Farrell, by now captaining the side alone, opts for touch. All this on a horribly wet day and at a time when your lineout has started to malfunction badly — a combination of new hooker Jamie George coming on and Brodie Retallick beginning to read England like a book.
‘Blunder two: The drop goal that never came. With less than two minutes on the clock, we are one point behind but have the ball in their half. Farrell and Ford knew the kick was on and were dropping back for an attempt, but I just did not feel or see that the whole team was on the same wavelength or knew what needed to happen.
‘They went to the right and Courtney Lawes threw a ridiculous pass. A complete mess, just when England had to be at their best and most composed, they couldn’t handle the pressure.’
Photo: Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images