BackRow Outcasts Lead England to Historic Victory

BackRow Outcasts Lead England to Historic Victory

Last year James Haskell couldn’t get a regular place in the England side, while Chris Robshaw was dumped as the nation’s skipper after their embarrassing World Cup exit.

But seven months later, the backrow duo, alongside No.8 Billy Vunipola, have dominated the Wallabies, with Haskell and Robshaw winning man-of-the-match awards in their historic series win here after the first two Tests.

It was Australia who was supposed to have the world-beating backrow, but while Michael Hooper has been Australia’s best performing forward over the two Tests, he has had scant support against the English juggernaut.

“It’s a team effort when it comes to dealing with the backrow,” Hooper said.

“Like with turnovers, when you play guys who are good at the breakdown in Super Rugby or Tests it’s a team effort.

“Falling out of our shape allowed those guys to get into the game, and credit to them they stepped up and played well there.

“To nullify these guys, you play guys like Poey [David Pocock] who are really good over the ball, it’s a team thing, it’s not a backrow vs backrow battle where you’re always running into each other during the game.

“It’s disappointing we allowed these good players to disrupt our game.”

Australia is set for some respite this Saturday in the series finale, as it appears Haskell, the series’ top tackler, will be ruled out of the Test at Allianz Stadium with a leg injury.

Meanwhile, Hooper brushed off critics on social media who labelled him a “dirty player” after an overhead camera shot appeared to show him throwing turf from the ripped up AAMI Park into Haskell’s face.

A side-on angle clearly showed that Hooper was merely throwing the turf further along the ground, not directed at his rival.

“It was a storm in a teacup, a bit of nonsense, it’s in the footage that it’s nothing to worry about,” Hooper said.

“As soon as that other camera angle is seen it’s fine. You’ve got to take a lot of comfort out of knowing what you did and how you play the game.”


– Entry was posted on June 22nd, 2016 by James Haskell

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