Struggling England face the game of their lives and an early Rugby World Cup "final" against Australia on 3 October, says lock Geoff Parling. Hosts England won the opening game against Fiji, but went down 28-25 to arch-rivals Wales in spite of dominating for most of the match last Saturday.
"Oh trust me the hunger (to win) is unbelievable. You know we've been building towards this world cup for a long, long time. We know we probably threw away an opportunity last weekend. We do not want to repeat, repeat that. We are, I can't, you know, this is the game, the game of our lives, it is," second row Parling told a news conference at England's training base on 29 September.
Referring to the criticism of England and in particular head coach Stuart Lancaster's selections, Parling said: "I would hope that the things being said outside the camp would still be massive support for this team because like I said, we're in a world cup you know and I guess that our final's just come a little bit earlier, so I would hope that the stuff from outside would be getting behind us and from our point of view it's always just backing ourselves, you know, for the game to come."
In the last moments of the game against Wales, the English chose to take a lineout hoping for a try, rather than a penalty kick for a draw and a Welsh drive effectively cost them the match, but Parling said people should look again at what happened.
"That was the plan. It didn't go to, it didn't work obviously so it was a bad call and the reason it didn't work was because they hit it when our jumper was still, I'ld say his feet were two feet in the air, which I'ld hope that if people watch it back, like I said a good view on the TV and you could easily see that," said the lock.
Coach Stuart Lancaster will name his team on 1 October, for a game England must win to retain a realistic chance of making the quarter-finals.