Leicester Tigers hooker Tom Youngs is a firm believer that England will still reach the 2015 Rugby World Cup knock out stages despite a chastening defeat to rivals Wales at Twickenham.
With half an hour remaining England looked on course to put themselves on the cusp of escaping the ‘pool of death’ as they led Wales 22-12 thanks to a try from Gloucester Rugby’s Jonny May with Saracen Owen Farrell kicking the rest of the points.
And this was a Wales team – already ravaged by injuries – that saw Scott Williams, Liam Williams and Hallam Amos all forced off.
But Warren Gatland’s troops refused to lie down and after Gareth Davies had touched down, Dan Biggar added the conversion before sending a penalty through the uprights to secure a famous 28-25 victory.
It means England will now have to beat Australia next weekend if they are to have any chance of advancing, but hooker Youngs is staying confident.
“I am very convinced we can still make it,” said the Leicester Tigers hooker. “All the hard work we have done over the last 12 or 13 weeks tells me that, and all the hard work we have done before that.
“We are a tight knit group, it is challenge and one we will accept and one we will look forward to.
“There is nothing better than when you lose a game how upset and annoyed you are about it. At least now we can focus our minds straight into another game.
“If the season ended now it would drag that much longer. The best thing for a defeat is to have a game after it and the worst thing is not.
“For example last season when we (Leicester Tigers) lost to Bath in the semi-final and the season before we lost to Northampton in the final, that was the season done and that hangs with you a lot longer as you have to wait a long time to put something right.
“We can really focus our minds on this weekend. You are frustrated with what happened but we have a massive challenge next weekend and we have to get rid of the game and move on as fast as we can.
“Once we review the game we can then get into Australia and get our heads down and work towards Saturday.”
As England trailed by three points with two minutes left, they won a penalty which replacement Bath George Ford of Bath Rugby kicked into the corner rather than at the posts.
It was a tough call for captain Chris Robshaw of Harlequins to make, but Youngs doesn’t feel as though the back rower needs an arm around his shoulder – far from it.
“It is not about rallying around Chris but rallying around each other and make sure everyone is pulling in the right direction and that is what we will do,” he added.
“We will pull together and pull tighter together and make sure we have got the game plan down.
“All the little details and make sure we have everything ticked off and go into that game with a clear mind and just go for it.”