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Mike Tindall: Heartbreak can help forge great sides, and Lancaster has makings of one here

06 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Mike Tindall: Heartbreak can help forge great sides, and Lancaster has makings of one here

The World Cup winner and Betway ambassador believes Stuart Lancaster deserves to stay - provided both he and the players learn from mistakes

To see England bow out of their own World Cup in the pool stages on Saturday was massively disappointing – but believe me, no matter how bad the fans feel, the players will be feeling 100 times worse.

This England team wear their heart on the sleeve and this will hurt them.

They will have been hoping that their success could help to lift a nation, but their personal ambitions have now been shattered and they will be feeling absolutely gutted.

England were not bad at the weekend – they actually made more breaks and the highest number of metres in attack – but Australia were just a little bit smarter.

David Pocock and Michael Hooper were outstanding, as was Scott Fardy in terms of getting over the ball – but Romain Poite did not look like he wanted to referee the breakdown at all.

Whereas Australia pushed those boundaries and got results out of it by either slowing the ball down or stealing it and it kicking away to make us start all over again, England did not react and change their game to follow suit.

They were clearly wary of making the same mistakes as against Wales, when indiscipline cost them dear.

This England team now find themselves in a similar position to when we were knocked out of the World Cup in 1999 by South Africa.

On that occasion Clive Woodward was banging on the RFU’s door demanding to be judged on our performance in four years’ time and Stuart Lancaster must now state his case with a similar conviction. lancaster-hidingI have been a big fan of what he has done over the last few years, having started with an entirely new group of young players he has overseen a complete rebuilding job and the rugby played in the last Six Nations – when we scored 18 tries and put 55 points on France – was a joy to watch. 

Under Lancaster we have finished second in the last four Six Nations which some people say amounts to failure, but you have to remember that the last three have all come down to points difference.

During that time Ireland and Wales have both won the championship while losing a game so it is not like we are a million miles behind.

Lancaster has set his stall out with certain policies that he believed were for the good of the team, he has instilled pride in the shirt and has gone to great lengths to involve the fans so that they feel part of what is going on – I think that it why they feel so upset now.

The issue is that having preached about a culture of consistency for so long he then displayed no consistency in selection during the past six weeks by attempting to change so much in a short period of time which went against three years of planning.

When you arrive at a World Cup you must pin your colours on certain players and trust in the work that you have put in place, but he did not do that.

But people forget about the all the heartbreak that we had to go through before winning the World Cup in 2003, when we were branded as chokers who could never produce when it really mattered.

I still remember how I felt after losing matches in the Six Nations where a Grand Slam was at stake – first at Murrayfield in 2000 and then against Ireland in 2001, as well as the sole defeat in Paris midway through the tournament in 2002.

I can vividly recall all of those disappointments but it is how you learn from experiences such as those that really counts in pushing on and forging a winning team in the future.tindall-lansdowneThe key question for the RFU now – is Lancaster the man to continue taking this team forward or when it comes to the crunch is he going to make the same mistakes again?

I am a bit torn, but think overall I would prefer to see them learn from these losses and continue to work on playing the same brand of rugby.

With the pool that we were in a top team was always going to go out at this stage of the competition.

Against Australia we were simply beaten by a better team, whereas against Wales we let a winning position slip through our fingers.

That is the game that killed England and that is the one that they are going to look back on and will hurt the most.

Of course, the World Cup will suffer for the host nation no longer being in it but we are lucky that the quality of the rugby has been so good that people will stay involved with the tournament regardless.

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