England v South Africa, Twickenham, November 24
Robshaw unrepentant over late call
November 24, 2012
Chris Robshaw says he had no regrets over the decision to kick a late penalty © PA Photos
England captain Chris Robshaw defended his decision to kick a penalty with three minutes remaining despite his side trailing by four points.
Owen Farrell kicked the penalty to bring England to within a point at 16-15, but a poor take by England at the restart ended any hopes they had of a late, dramatic comeback. It is the second time in two weeks that muddled thinking with a penalty has cost England. Against Australia England decided to kick for touch and territory rather than take three points against Australia.
"I thought we could take the three points, get down field for a drop goal. But unfortunately it was not to be," Robshaw said. "You have to take every game as it comes. We thought we might get a chance for another three but it didn't happen. We discussed it and I have to make those calls at the end of the day, that is on me and I thought we still had time to get the points, get back down there with the re-start and put ourselves potentially in drop goal or penalty range. I am the one who makes that call. It is on me."
England coach Stuart Lancaster was non-commital on the decision that means the Springboks have now gone unbeaten at Twickenham since 2006. It also means that England have only won once in their six most recent Tests.
"I think we need to review all our decisions," he said. "I am not going to comment on individual decisions. We pushed them to the line and we should have got over the line but we couldn't. We'll sit down as a group on Monday morning when the emotion has gone out of the game and reflect on it. We discuss all the decisions. Some we get right, some we don't get right and that's part of any side's development. We're just disappointed to have lost the game, a game we felt we could have won.
"The players have to make decisions on the field, as coaches we can't influence that. We back the players and support them and if we can learn from it and do better next time that's what we do. The purpose of having a captain in a team is that he makes decisions and the players back him. That's what should happen. We go 16-6 and you look at the team and say 'Have we got the character to take on the team second best in the world, pull yourselves back into the game and give yourself a chance of winning' and we did."
For South Africa the win means that the Springboks have finished the year with three wins and a draw after four Test with England. The win means they finish their northern hemisphere tour with three wins from three over England, Ireland and Scotland.
"We wanted three wins so we are pretty happy tonight," South Africa captain Jean de Villiers said: "Earlier in the year we probably would have lost this game."
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