Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Parling: England flopped at final hurdle

Geoff Parling issued a frank assessment of England's shortcomings after they crashed to their worst-ever defeat to Wales
Geoff Parling issued a frank assessment of England's shortcomings after they crashed to their worst-ever defeat to Wales

Geoff Parling admitted England let themselves down after their Grand Slam ambitions were wrecked by a 30-3 defeat to Wales at the Millennium Stadium.

Parling issued a frank assessment of England's shortcomings after they crashed to their worst ever defeat to Wales, losing a shot at both the Grand Slam and the RBS 6 Nations title.

"That was a massive opportunity lost," said Parling, the Leicester lock. "How many people get an opportunity to win a Grand Slam? And we have lost the Six Nations too."

He added: "We showed character in Dublin and France and this team has a lot of that - but when the really big one came around, we let ourselves down.

"We were beaten in all areas of the park. They got the better of us at the ruck and were more clinical with the ball. We didn't play well.

"It hurts. We are not going to look back at the last four games that we have won and be pleased after what has happened."

England were frustrated with the way referee Steve Walsh managed the breakdown and they ended up not competing for fear of conceding even more penalties, but there was no hint of the players or management using that as an excuse, particularly given how dominant the Welsh forwards were in the scrum.

England withstood a first-half hammering to only trail 9-3 at the interval but their famed resilience eventually cracked and Wales ran up a record score with two tries from Alex Cuthbert. It was England's heaviest defeat since Stuart Lancaster took charge.

"The best side won. They played better than us in every area," said captain Chris Robshaw. "The guys are down and rightly so. We came here to win a Grand Slam and that is not what we came away with.

"It is tough. We went in at half-time 9-3 down and you are thinking it is game on. All of a sudden we are 15 points down and it unravelled. Being smashed 30-3 is tough to take."

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