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England Rugby World cup captain Chris Robshaw has admitted that he regrets his costly decision not to kick a penalty against Wales in the World Cup defeat that eventually sealed his team’s humiliating pool stage exit.
Speaking for the first time since England crashed out of the World Cup on home soil, captain Robshaw said opting for an attacking line-out instead of taking a shot at goal was the wrong call.
If Owen Farrell had made the kick in the closing moments the game would have been drawn and England would have reached the quarter-finals.
Instead, they lost 28-25 to Warren Gatland’s men and were beaten by Australia a week later to seal their exit.
It was the biggest call of Robshaw’s captaincy and he was heavily criticised in the aftermath, with new England coach Eddie Jones reportedly considering replacing him as skipper.
On Sunday he will appear at Twickenham for the first time since the World Cup when Harlequins host Gloucester in ‘Big Game 8′ and the 29-year-old is now able to take a measured view of the costly decision made three months ago.
“You look at the way the Wales game turned out and if we had drawn what would have happened,” Robshaw said on Wednesday.
“If you had a time machine you’d go back, but unfortunately we don’t and you just have to get on with it.
“I accept responsibility for that as I said straight after the game. Don’t try and put it on anyone else.
“The Welsh boys at Quins haven’t brought it up yet, but I’m sure they will in time!
“Of course you think about stuff like that but you have to move forward. That’s probably something I did in the first month, thinking about things, what didn’t go well, I would have done differently.
“Once you get past that you start to enjoy your rugby. Then you get a smile on your face and remember what you do as a player. Then you start enjoying the game again.”
It was not until Harlequins’ one-point defeat at Exeter on November 28 that Robshaw felt his equilibrium was restored, the wounds of England’s World Cup misery taking 56 days to heal, although he knows some of the hurt will always linger.
A recent trip to Brazil has helped put further distance between himself and the calamities against Wales and Australia, while comfort was taken from a conversation with former New Zealand captain Sean Fitzpatrick.
“There is no magic cure. You can go away, be with your friends and family, but you do need time. You’re playing and trying to do everything, but you’re not quite there,” he said.
“I went away with some mates to a house in Hampshire where you try and laugh, but while it was good fun, you’re still hurting.
“It was with schoolmates I had known since I was 13. It was good fun, but then you come back to training and you are kind of hanging on. So it does take time.”
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