Former All Black James Parsons believes England “panicked” when deciding to kick the ball out for a 25-25 draw against New Zealand at Twickenham last weekend.
England were down 25-6 down to the All Blacks with eight minutes to play before launching an epic comeback, scoring three tries and levelling the score.
Accepted the draw
The Red Rose had possession in their half with the opportunity to push for a memorable win, but fly-half Marcus Smith kicked the ball into touch and ended the game.
The decision has received a divided response, with some of the opinion that England should have gone for the win, while head coach Eddie Jones backed his players’ decisions after the game.
In conversation with the Aotearoa Rugby Pod, Parsons said he feels England were in a position to push on for the win given their momentum in the game.
“They’ve done it with ease like that last eight minutes, in terms of counterattacking,” said Parsons.
“One of the biggest players that probably came off was Dalton Papali’i, who was slowing their ball down all night and once he came off, they were just getting that front foot ball.
“Their actual ability to have front foot ball from that kick-off is right there, it was a short kick-off, they were 60 out.
“I don’t quite buy that, I think they panicked, and they just thought ‘geez we’ve done really well to get it to a draw, let’s just take it and get out of here.’”
Smith crucial to the comeback
Smith was central to the fantastic comeback and was the player to clear the ball at the end, but Parsons thinks it was against the young fly-half’s wishes as the Harlequin’s body language suggested he wanted to go and push for the win.
“If you watch Marcus Smith when he kicks that conversion, he does not waste any time. He kicks it, he turns around and he sprints back to halfway,” he said.
“You could see when he kicked it out, I felt like it might’ve been a directive because he was not happy, and you could see forwards saying ‘get it, get it out, get it out.’
“I don’t think everyone in that team was in all agreeance but sometimes you have to disagree and commit as teammates and that’s what Marcus Smith did.
“All his body language said he wanted to have a W next to their name.”
Nevertheless, England will go into their final Autumn Nations Series clash with the Springboks full of confidence on the back of last week’s late surge.
The article England: Ex-All Black says the Red Rose ‘panicked’ when deciding to end the game with a draw appeared first on Planetrugby.com.