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Toby Flood boots Sir Clive Woodward penalty jibe into touch

Toby Flood Toby Flood hit back last night after Sir Clive Woodward condemned England for failing to kick their penalties to possibly salvage a draw with the Wallabies.

Wold Cup-winning boss Sir Clive felt scrum-halves Danny Care and Ben Youngs were wrong to take quick tapped penalties rather than go for goal when England trailed and were playing catch-up at Twickenham.

The risky decisions to turn down the two kicks in the final 22 minutes cost them dear as Australia derailed England’s autumn campaign and lifted the Cook Cup with a 20-14 victory.

Woodward insisted: “Test match rugby is about putting points on the board when you get the chance.

“Not to take the penalty opportunities when they came along was in hindsight not correct. When you take a quick tap you must come up with a try or when it breaks down you give the other team a huge lift and momentum back. That’s what happened here with Australia.”

But Flood, who said he would have happily had a go at kicking the penalties, said: “The team lives and dies by the decisions made in the heat of the moment. We stand by those decisions now.

“If I was asked to kick them I would but there was a big discussion about the one when  we  went  into  the corner. We had a massive opportunity and felt we could score a try.

“We could have taken the three points but Ben wanted to tap and go, and that’s what he is so good at. You don’t want to take that away from him.

“We were just a yard out. Danny had taken one in the first half and that worked for us with Manu scoring. If he had taken the points then we would not have scored a try.”

Flood revealed the depths of despair and disappointment felt by the England players as they failed to follow up their win over Fiji.

They could not live up to their pre-match billing as firm favourites to tame a Wallabies side which had been humiliated 33-6 by France the week before.

It is a blow to head coach Stuart Lancaster’s hopes of having England in the top four ranked teams with the 2015 World Cup Pool draw coming up in London on December 3.

Flood admitted: “It was just frustrating not to take a chance of beating one of the best teams in the world.

“We have to be smarter and more clinical. It comes with time and it’s part of our evolution. But you don’t get much time in Test rugby.

“It’s the most frustrated I have been after a game. Our inability to keep turning the screw, and making our pressure count. There were plenty of looks across the room we said: ‘How did we manage that? How did we manage that?’”

Wing Chris Ashton failed to score a try for the tenth successive Test.

The Saracens ace is now desperate to get stuck into the Springboks and put the record straight next Saturday.

He said: “I just wish we were playing South Africa tomorrow. That’s how keen I am to get back out there and put things right.

“It was just one of those days when we tried stuff but it didn’t come off. Australia took their penalties and won the game. We just didn’t take our chances but I don’t think it is a massive step back.”

The win eased some pressure off Wallaby coach Robbie Deans who said: “It was a much better performance than in Paris. The boys did it not me. They deserve the praise.”

GARY FITZGERALD

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