England 14 Australia 20: Lancaster defends Red Rose’s decision-making
England 14 Australia 20: Stuart Lancaster defends his side's decision-making in a defeat by the Wallabies at Twickenham
England head coach Stuart Lancaster defended his players’ decision-making under pressure despite watching his side turn down three kickable penalties in the second half of their 20-14 defeat by Australia on Saturday.
Lancaster troops have now only won once in their last five internationals, a run that stretches back to this year’s Six Nations, but came up against an inspired Wallabies outfit at Twickenham.
England were not at their best in the first half and were fortunate to lead 14-11 at the interval, but the impressive Berrick Barnes, who ended up with 15 points, kicked three penalties early in the second half to put visitors six points in front.
From then on England were the dominant force but opted to turn down three-point opportunities in favour of quick taps or kicks to the corner in search of the try that would turn the game on its head.
And despite letting a potential nine points slip through their fingers Lancaster insisted he agreed with the decision taken by his troops.
“We’ll look at every decision but with the momentum at the time I thought it was the right decision,” he said.
“You back your players on the field. The momentum was with us and I thought from there we were going to score a try.
“If we are going to give players the confidence to go out and play then we have to back them.”
England now go into their final two autumn internationals, against South Africa and New Zealand, knowing that they must win at least one of them to stand a chance of making the top four in the IRB world rankings.
“They are must-win games,” added Lancaster. “We’re devastated to have lost this game. We didn’t quite take our opportunities and at this level we must take it. They managed the breakdown better.”
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