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How quickly the fate of a nation can turn.

From the euphoria of the 2015 Rugby World Cup opening last week to the disbelief as Wales mounted an astonishing comeback to beat England in their own back yard.

With England leading 16-9 at half time, playing well and seemingly in control of the game, no-one other than the most die-hard Welsh fans would have backed the lads from the valleys to go on and win the game. But they did.

England’s poor discipline proved costly and with Dan Biggar putting in a man of the match performance for Wales, an English defeat is now in the record books and there is little else to be said.

England scrum half Ben Youngs summed it up.

"It is what it is,” he said. “We have got to make sure we regroup. We have got to bring Australia here now, although no-one can quite believe in the dressing room what's happened, it has." 

He added "We have to suck it up, realise what happened, how it happened, get on with it and come out next week. It's our World Cup final next week. It is all or nothing for us."

So what does the result mean for Australia? Well, nothing really changes. The Wallabies still need to beat both England and Wales, although things may seem a little easier following England’s defeat. And there’s some added edge in that Australia now know that if they beat England next weekend they will effectively eliminate them from the tournament.

Australia will know not to take anything for granted. Sure, England are beatable but last night’s result was more England “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory”.  Wales battled hard but England allowed them to stay in the game. The English will be expected to put right the errors from that game and not give points away.

By the time Australia play Wales, the Welsh team will be down to the bare bones.  Three more back line players limped out with injuries last night, two of which looked pretty serious.  The Welsh only have four days to prepare for their clash with Fiji and given the injury list it could be a case of “after the lord mayors show” as Fiji have a point to prove following back to back defeats by England and Australia.

A bonus point victory and a big winning margin (by at least 34 points) will see Australia sit at the top of the pool at the halfway point in the group stages. That would be a nice position to be in but with the tougher half of the group unfolding over the next two weeks, expect more twists and turns.


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RWC: England defeat blows Pool A wide open
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