England became the first host nation to exit the Rugby World Cup at the group stage because they tried to copy the All Blacks’ style of play.
That was the word from former All Blacks coach Graham Henry who said England don’t have the skill level to play like the world champions.
Henry used England’s 33-13 defeat to Australia at Twickenham on Saturday as evidence that the global showpiece’s hosts don’t have the skills to compete with the best at Test level.
“It could have been embarrassing,” Henry told New Zealand’s Newtalk ZB radio station.
“The English boys give it 100 per cent they just simply weren’t good enough.
“I think they’ve been playing the wrong game for a long time. They are trying to simulate the way the All Blacks play and I don’t think they have the skill level to do that because they simply don’t come from that sort of environment.
“So (head coach Stuart) Lancaster will get some stick in the press. He’s tried hard Stuart, no doubt about that. He has good standards in his team, good culture but they’re not good enough at this level.”
Henry hailed Australia’s performance and said they are amongst the favourites to win the World Cup now.
“The big thing about the Australians is they have some stability up front and the most embarrassing thing for the English tonight was the way the Australians dominated the scrum,” he added.
“And they got better as the game went on.
“That has been their achilles heel in the past and that’s why England has beaten them in the past – they couldn’t scrum.”
Henry also praised the impact former Argentina forward, Mario Ledesma, has had on the Wallabies since being appointed scrum coach.
“He’s done a brilliant job. He’s turned them around.”