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10th Oct 2015

The things we learned from England’s dead rubber match with Uruguay

Kevin Beirne

England’s World Cup is officially over.

In reality it ended last weekend against Australia, but the hosts were allowed one more run out in Manchester before packing up and leaving their own tournament.

In the end, England ran in 10 tries as they easily brushed aside far inferior Uruguayan team.

Here are the main things we took away from the game.


So many regrets

This game brought to light so many regrets for England fans. Why didn’t we take the points against Wales? Why did I spend so much money on a ticket to the final? Why did I spend my Saturday night watching this game?

The one about the penalty against Wales will probably sting the most, as a draw would have seen England a point ahead of their neighbours.

Selection issues like leaving out Steffon Armitage in the back row, or including Saem Burgess as a centre, will hang over Lancaster’s head if he stays on as coach.

Youngsters shine for England

It was not exactly world-class opposition but English fans will be happy to see Anthony Watson and Jack Nowell pick up five tries between them. Watson in particular has looked very good all year long.

While older members of the squad contributed (we hope you had a tenner on a Nick Easter hat-trick), there were enough young players chipping in to keep England fans optimistic.

Still, the goal-kicking of both Owen Farrell and George Ford was lackluster as the duo combined to miss half of their kicks on the night.

The north needs more love

Credit must be payed to the fans who actually turned up to see this one. Not only did they spend their Saturday night at what was arguably the most pointless game in the history of the RFU, but they sang their hearts out at it.

It wasn’t quite the level of the Irish at Euro 2012, but ‘Swing Low’ could be heard loudly throughout the game. The RFU needs to reward the loyalty of these fans and have a game up north more than once a decade.

Part of what makes southern hemisphere teams so successful is the fact that their teams play all over the country, therefore encouraging young people everywhere to take up the sport. England has the facilities, but do the RFU have the balls?

At least Uruguay had fun

For the Uruguayan players, taking part in a World Cup will probably be the highlight of their careers. While they might not like conceding 226 points and only scoring 30 points, they sure looked like they were having fun.

With a team made up mostly of amateurs, they were never likely to do much. But they can lay claim to briefly leading England in their own World Cup.

Wales v Uruguay - Group A: Rugby World Cup 2015