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Small margins decide Test matches says Waldrom

18 November 2012

  • Thomas Waldrom inches away from first Test try in Australia defeat
  • We back the decision to go for seven points says No.8
England No.8 Thomas Waldrom in action against Fiji

Photo: Getty Images

Thomas Waldrom was inches way from a match-winning first Test try in the defeat to Australia at Twickenham and said it encapsulates the narrow margins which decide matches at this level.

A first Test try from wing Nick Cummins and 15 points from the classy boot of full back Berrick Barnes was enough for Australia to win the second QBE International by six points.

England led 14-11 at the break after a Manu Tuilagi try and nine points from fly half Toby Flood but, despite a series of late surges, failed to score to score in the second half.

Stuart Lancaster’s side opted to go for maximum points from four kickable penalties in the second half and nearly secured victory when Waldrom peeled off a maul but the Television Match Official Jim Yuille adjudged that the No.8 had lost control of the ball as he reached for the line.

Waldrom had a huge game against the Wallabies – topping England’s tackle and carrying stats with 21 and 12 respectively – and said the forward pack backed the decision to aim for tries in the second half.

“I had a feeling I’d got it down but it wasn’t conclusive and it’s on those small margins that games are won and lost,” he said.

“We backed ourselves to go for the seven points, we had a couple of good set-up drives and as you could see I was only an inch away. It’s one of those decisions as a forward pack we wanted to take on and in the context of the game we felt it was the right thing to do.”

The tackle area was hotly contested, with Australia No.7 and Man of the Match Michael Hooper enjoying considerable success in slowing down England’s ball.

Photo: Getty Images

Waldrom, who hit 19 rucks in the game, said Australia had done their homework and committed men to the breakdown, which disrupted England’s rhythm.

Adding that England were not clinical enough in the opposition “Red Zone”, the 29-year-old said: “They would’ve done a lot of homework on how to slow us up, looked at the Fiji game and South Africa games [in the summer] and also looked at themselves, you don’t like coming off a 30-point loss in the previous game to France.

“They threw everything at us at the breakdown but we were doing some good things too – running off nine and making some good inroads but we weren’t clinical enough [in their 22].

“Straight after half time we were chasing our tails a bit, they got six points up and we didn’t touch the ball at all. We knew if we could get the ball in the right areas we would trust ourselves. It’s disappointing, but I know we can bounce back from this.”

Manu Tuilagi stretches to score a try against Australia

Photo: Getty Images

South Africa, who defeated England 2-0 in the summer Test series, are the next visitors to Twickenham next Saturday. Waldrom is expecting an even more physical challenge but said the hurt in the dressing room after the Wallabies defeat will be fuel for an intense week of training.

He added: “South Africa is going to be even more physical, the two weeks aren’t going to get any easier but these are the challenges you look forward to. You play rugby to challenge yourself against the best players. We’ll be looking hard at ourselves because we know we need to tighten up in a few areas.

“It’s about looking into each other’s eyes in the dressing room and going to out to make sure we keep the intensity up in training. We need to keep working hard for each other.”