By Paul Morgan, Editor of Rugby World Magazine
Forget the 19-9 scoreline this was a much, much bigger victory for Australia than it suggests, but with the heart ripped out of the England squad by injuries (just five left from the side that started the last Six Nations game against Scotland!) nothing else was ever going to happen. England are 7th in the world for a reason (8th now) so when you take that many quality players out of the 7th best team they are going to lose to Australia.
Australia basically butchered four try-scoring opportunities and I’m sorry to say England failed to create a genuine try-scoring chance themselves in the whole of the second half. As Rocky Elsom admitted after the game Australia were never stretched or put under pressure at Twickenham.
The reality though is that the cupboard is bare.
Of the new faces I thought David Wilson was one of the few who showed that he could have an international future. It’s such a shame he got injured, but I can see exactly why the England management think so much of him. He scrummaged well, was hard-working around the field, although he does need to get his hands on the ball more.
Typically Jonny Wilkinson was England’s stand out performer and got England ahead, a lead they kept until the second half. He also tackled himself to a standstill. Remarkable performance from a bloke who was dropped for Danny Cipriani in the 2008 Six Nations.
But putting those injuries aside as none of them are going to be fit for next Saturday Martin Johnson needs to give youth its head, so he can at least learn something about players. If they pick the same team and lose again they’ll learn nothing.
Courtney Lawes must start against Argentina.
James Haskell must start against Argentina
Ben Foden must start against Argentina, with Ugo Monye moved back to wing.
Dylan Hartley must start against Argentina
All those players will give the squad a lift and will feed off the impressive players like Wilkinson, Moody and Monye, who portray the spirit that England need.
If England play like they did against Australia they will lose to Argentina, so they need to be sure about where they are going. If they go into their shells next week and opt for safety first they will lose.
On the plus side against Australia today:
Jonny Wilkinson: Simply the best and has no equal in the world game, even behind a pack that got him such slow ball
Lewis Moody: The turnover king against Australia, he is back to his best and aren’t England lucky to have him.
But what do you think? Who would you have in the team to play Argentina?