England captain Chris Robshaw said his side had “let a lot of people down” after they suffered a stunning 28-25 loss to Wales in a crunch ‘Pool of Death’ World Cup clash in front of their own fans at a sold-out Twickenham on Saturday.
England twice led by 10 points, with wing Jonny May scoring a fine try.
But Wales hit back with a brilliant converted try of their own nine minutes from time through scrumhalf Gareth Davies.
Wales flyhalf Dan Biggar was remorseless with the boot in landing 23 points, and the Welsh led 28-25 with just minutes on the clock when England won a penalty of their own.
England flyhalf Owen Farrell, like Biggar, didn’t miss a place-kick all match.
But rather than go for a penalty to tie the match, England opted for an attacking line-out in the hope of scoring a try that would win the game.
But the move broke down and Wales, who suffered yet more injuries during a bruising encounter after losing several key players before the tournament started, held out.
“The call came down to myself, we wanted to go for a win, unfortunately it didn’t come off,” said Robshaw.
“Now it’s about having a big reaction, the character of the squad,” the Harlequins flanker added.
“It hurts like hell at the moment and we feel we have let a lot of people down when we were in a prominent position.”
England next face two-time world champions Australia in a tough pool where at least one of the world’s leading sides will miss out as only the two top teams go through to the last eight.
“It’s a huge challenge with Australia coming to town,” said Robshaw.