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'We all bought in' - Owen Farrell says England backed Robshaw's decision

Stuart Lancaster’s men now have to turn things around before facing Australia next weekend.

Murray Kinsella reports from London

IT HAS PROVEN to be the key talking point from last night’s thriller in Twickenham.

Wherever you go in London today, it’s what every rugby fan is talking about. Wembley is already alive with the conversation. What was Chris Robshaw thinking in opting to go to the corner with that late England penalty?

Gethin Jenkins celebrates at the final whistle Delight for Wales, despair for England. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

It’s extremely easy for those of us who weren’t on the pitch to criticise with the benefit of hindsight, though it should be said that many made immediate cries of disbelief when Robshaw signalled for the kick to touch.

The England captain accepted that the decision, which proved unsuccessful, was all on his shoulders. But after Robshaw had faced tough questions at the post-match press conference, Owen Farrell stated that England’s players had backed their leader at the time.

There was a hint from Farrell, who kicked at 100% in a superb performance off the tee, that he would have approached a kick at goal with some confidence.

You tend to back yourself as a kicker, but I wanted to back the decision,” said Farrell in the mixed zone at Twickenham. “We had a chat about the decision together. But at that time we wanted to go and win the game.

“When you make the decision, as a group, to go for the corner, you back it. If it comes off then the decision is brilliant, but it hasn’t turned out that way this time.”

“There were a couple of us and there were lads around us. We all bought in. If it doesn’t work out you’ll get criticised. It’s something to jump on. It’s not worked out this time, but if we’d got the match-winning try everyone would have praised the decision.

EnglandÕs Owen Farrell kicks a penalty Farrell's goal-kicking was superb last night. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“It came down to a feeling of what’s going on on the pitch at the time. You can’t sit down and talk about it off the field when you’ve not got a feel for a game. The leaders are the leaders because they have a feel for the game and can be trusted.”

Stuart Lancaster looked displeased with his players’ decision-making on that occasion when he spoke to the media after the game, but as Farrell points out the coach has to trust his on-pitch leaders to accurately judge the flow of the game.

Perhaps Lancaster has learned a harsh lesson about his leaders here, but the impression will certainly be based on the second half in its entirety, rather than one penalty decision.

Wales have two wins from two, while Australia look set to hit that same marker with a big win against Uruguay this afternoon. Both of those Pool A contenders will lie on nine match points, with England trailing on six.

Next Saturday’s clash between the Wallabies and England at Twickenham is even bigger than first anticipated.

“We lost the game, it just means the stakes are higher going forward,” said centre Sam Burgess last night.

EnglandÕs Sam Burgess Burgess made some strong carries and big hits. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“There are two ways you can deal with it. You either get up and get on with it or you feel sorry for yourselves. There is still a lot to play for and it’s wide open. Certainly we have to look forward rather than dwelling on tonight.”

England awaits the big response from Lancaster’s men.

“It is going to be a big week for us mentally now,” said lock Joe Launchbury.

“That’s the most important thing, to get back on page and focus on a really big week ahead. Every time we take the pitch we know we represent a lot of people, family and friends and the wider public as well. We take that extremely seriously.”

Relive the superb action from Wales’ magnificent comeback win over England right here

Jean de Villiers went back on the field with a broken jaw yesterday, but now he’s out of the RWC

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Murray Kinsella

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