Youngs rues missed opportunity
November 8, 2010
Youngs clears his lines during Saturday's clash at Twickenham © Getty Images
Scrum-half Ben Youngs believes England missed a great opportunity to score a rare win over New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday.
England produced a rousing second-half performance but they were not clinical enough to turn pressure into points - and as a result slipped to a 26-16 defeat at the hands of the Tri-Nations champions.
The All Blacks raced into a 14-0 lead after 20 minutes and then withstood England's comeback, sparked by a first Test try for Dylan Hartley, to seal the victory. Far from being satisfied with an encouraging performance in the last hour, Youngs revealed the England changing room was deathly quiet after the game. But from that will grow a fierce determination to make amends against Australia at Twickenham next Saturday.
"The summer tour to Australia made us realise what a good bunch of players we are. We want to challenge ourselves against the best and now we know we are capable of mixing it with them," said Youngs. "Every person in this squad believed we could win that game and I hope that showed. It was an opportunity missed.
"It was very hard to take. Everyone's head was down in the dressing room afterwards and you could hear a pin drop. We could have won that game because we put them under some real pressure. I can think of a couple of good opportunities that we missed off the top of my head, which was frustrating.
"But it is encouraging that we created chances and we need to keep believing ourselves because that was a missed chance."
Hartley warned the Wallabies to expect an England backlash. The Northampton captain missed the summer tour to Australia with a knee injury but in his absence England responded from a similar situation, after a slow start in the first Test cost them dear.
England bounced back to win 21-20 in Sydney and Hartley is confident they can do so again - particularly on the back of another strong scrummaging performance. "Bring on Australia!" he said. "Winning is so important to this team. A lot of people from the outside will say 'you played well in the second half and you played some good rugby'. But that isn't good enough for us.
"We are on a level with these guys. We don't put them on a pedestal and so we are disappointed. If we had turned the All Blacks over it would have been a real step forward for us. The team is quite hurt but we can take confidence from the way we played and take that into next week. England seem to perform when their backs are against the wall and after not coming away with a result here, next week is vital."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson
Paul Eddison explains how the French sold English clubs down the river and why their domestic game will go from strength to strength