The Real Tragedy of England Exiting the World Cup.

The real tragedy of England exiting the World Cup isn’t what you are going to read about and see in the media.

It won’t be because of the five penalties in the scrum.

It won’t be because of the yellow card given to Owen Farrell.

It won’t even be because of the choice to go for the corner and not the kick for a draw against Wales.

(The real error there was going for the 2-ball).

The real tragedy will be the fact that everyone will continue to miss the key to repeated poor performances by northern hemisphere sides in recent months/years.

The breakdown.

Guess what? Australia used to be poor in the scrum. So they fixed it. Now they can compete and win in this area.

England think their glory is in the set pieces and the contact area.

Australia caught up in the set pieces and overtook you in the contact area.

The fans/pundits/players think scrapping around on the floor proves their supremacy and nationhood.

Ten minutes watching Super 15s/Rugby Championship tells you that the breakdown is exactly that – a breakdown – the guy with the ball got tackled. So get the ball to a new guy and evade the defenders in the attempt of scoring a try.

Getting the ball away from the breakdown/ruck as quickly and cleanly as possible allows you to challenge the defensive line and find the cracks in your opponent’s armour. Scrapping around on the floor allows too much opportunity for turn-over/penalty/defence to recover and realign.

When the player with the ball uses his footwork to get between two defenders, don’t stand and watch him go to ground whilst the tacklers remain on their feet and contest for the ball, and then try and clear them out.

Get close to the guy with the ball and follow him through and take the tacklers out of the game by driving well beyond them and securing the ball to allow quick and clean ball away – as soon as possible before the defence can react.

Australia showed you the importance of this in the match tonight.

So follow their example. Get better at the breakdown.

England didn’t lose their quest for the World Cup because of the reasons you are going to read about.

They lost it due to not seeing the breakdown for what it really is.