Lancaster vows England will learn from Wales wipeout
CARDIFF (AFP) –
England coach Stuart Lancaster insisted his youthful side would learn from a record-breaking 30-3 loss to Wales which denied them both the Grand Slam and the Six Nations title.
The Red Rose brigade’s quest for a first clean sweep of their major European rivals since their World Cup-winning year of 2003 ended in dismal failure at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, with Wales smashing England at the scrum before, as the match wore on, dominating at the breakdown and in the loose.
Wales wing Alex Cuthbert’s two second-half tries put the result beyond doubt with England’s only points coming courtesy of a first-half penalty from fly-half Owen Farrell as the visitors suffered their heaviest margin of defeat in this fixture, surpassing the 25-0 loss they endured in Cardiff back in 1905.
Almost as concerning for England was the fact this result meant they’d managed just one try in their last four Tests.
Yet it was as recently as December that Lancaster’s men defeated world champions New Zealand in stunning style with a 38-21 victory at Twickenham to spark a run of five straight wins.
Lancaster, who has now lost both of his matches against Wales following last year’s 19-12 reverse at Twickenham, insisted this result could yet benefit his side, just as Clive Woodward recalled in the build-up to Saturday’s game how several Grand Slam failures had laid the path for his team’s World Cup triumph.
“No complaints, the best side won on the day,” Lancaster said. “From our point of view it’s a very disappointed dressing room and coaching staff.
“To win the last four games has been a fantastic experience for us in the Six Nations but to come up short today is hugely disappointing.
“On the bigger picture we’ll learn a lot from it. Wales have 650 caps, we have less than 300 and we’ve managed in other games to get momentum and a foothold in the game.
“At half-time we still thought we were in the competition, but the momentum Wales built told in the last 20 minutes.”
Meanwhile Lancaster rejected talk this thumping would have any bearing on a 2015 World Cup where hosts England are in the same pool as Wales.
“I think we play a few times before then, two lots of Six Nations,” he said.
“I’m sure this time next year we’ll not forget this. You’ve got to give Wales credit. We ended up chasing the game and made error on error and made a bad job worse.
“The third quarter was critical. When Wales got the 12-3 lead and then the try you could see us begin to chase the game and the game went away from us. But we’re a young side and I don’t think any international side goes unbeaten.
“Wales not long ago had lost a few on the bounce but they held their nerve and that’s what we will do.
“We’ll stick together. We’ve got some good players to come back into the equation and a summer tour to look forward to while the rest of our players go away with the British Lions.”
England forwards coach Graham Rowntree was disappointed with the number of penalties the team conceded, the visitors repeatedly on the wrong end of Kiwi-born Australian referee Steve Walsh’s whistle.
“I need to look at the tape again,” Rowntree said. “You come off a game like that and you have to look at yourself first, but I need to see those scrums and the breakdowns again because the penalty count was too much against us.
“We’ll have a good look at what we can do better there.”