LONDON (Reuters) - Australia’s scrum was key to the their stunning 33-13 win over England on Saturday, former England coach Clive Woodward said, adding that the hosts had played into the visitors, hands.
England went out of a Rugby World Cup in the pool stage for the first time, and, rubbing salt into the wounds, it was Australia’s biggest margin of victory over them at Twickenham.
“The home dressing-room will be a place they won’t forget for a long time,” Woodward, who guided England to their World Cup win in Australia in 2003, said on ITV.
“They have had a poor last 20 minutes against Wales and today in the last 20 minutes they were taken to the cleaners.”
England had to avoid defeat to have any chance of progressing after losing to Wales 28-25.
England’s pack, however, was on the back foot for much of the game and the team conceded five penalties at the scrum.
“The Aussie scrum was magnificent,” Woodward added. “You have to say well done to the Australian team. England played into Australia’s hands.”
Attention will likely turn to the fate of England head coach Stuart Lancaster, who apologised to the fans.
“Sorry for letting everyone down,” he said. “There are some fantastic players in that team and I want the country to stay behind them.”
But former scrumhalf Matt Dawson was among the first to call for change in the England set-up.
“I don’t think you can keep the same management after that. You can’t go out in the group stages of your own World Cup. Something needs to change,” he said.
England captain Chris Robshaw praised Australia’s performance.
“As you (can) imagine the changing-room is a very quiet place,” he said. “We are gutted and feel we let the country down today. As players we didn’t quite get there. We apologise to them.
“Credit to Australia, We knew across the board that they would put us under pressure and they were good today.”
He said the yellow card for Owen Farrell, with about 10 minutes to go, had taken the wind out of England’s sails just as they were mounting a comeback.
“We started to build a little momentum but left ourselves a little too much to do,” Robshaw said.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Ed Osmond