After yesterday’s defeat to Ireland we take a look at nine things England will have learnt after their trip to Dublin in this year’s Six Nations.
1. Now Is Not The Time To Panic
England’s defeat to Ireland may have been their poorest performance in this year’s Six Nations, however now is not the time to panic and make rash changes. This was an inexperienced England side coming up against an in-form Ireland who have experience on their side and a master tactician in Joe Schmidt.
2. The Poor Starts Are Becoming A Real Issue
For the first time in this year’s Six Nations England’s slow start cost them dearly as despite a late resurgence they did not have enough time to get back into the game and overcome the deficit. This was the same case during several of the Autumn Internationals and needs to be cut out immediately if they are to have any hope during the World Cup.
3. Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes Are Missed
Whilst Dave Attwood and George Kruis have performed well for the most part during the last few games. it became apparent against Ireland that England seriously miss their first choice second row pairing. Whilst Kruis had a solid enough game against Ireland, Attwood had a bit of an off day so Launchbury and Lawes need to be reunited when fit.
4. Use Of Substitutions
It’s hard to understand the point in having a player like Danny Cipriani on the bench if you’re not going to bring him on when you need a try as was the case against Ireland. He was exactly the sort of player England needed yesterday yet didn’t get a chance. Equally the removal of Jonathan Joseph baffled as he was one of the few players who can create something.
5. The Decision Making Needs To Improve
Taking a kick at the posts when 13 points down with 12 minutes to go is a bizarre decision at best. It showed a lack of ambition and trust in their ability to score a try so late in the game. If England are truly to compete against the best sides in the world then they have to show ambition in these circumstances rather than playing the safe option.
6. Mike Brown Is A Key Figure
Alex Goode didn’t have his best performance in an England shirt yesterday, however he did a few things well. Unfortunately it became apparent that England seriously missed the aerial prowess and running of Mike Brown from the back. For that reason they need to hope he gets fit and stays that way ahead of the World Cup.
7. The Tactical Kicking Game Is Still Poor
England were given a masterclass in aerial kicking by Ireland who completely dominated from the boot, even Ireland’s try came from a chip over the top. Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray kept England pinned back whilst the chase from the back three put England’s backs under pressure at every opportunity and resulted in a number of territorial gains.
8. Now Is The Time To Introduce Henry Slade
Whilst Billy Twelvetrees made an impressive cameo in the closing stages against Wales during the opening game of the Six Nations, his performance against Ireland can’t have done his international ambitions much good. For that reason, perhaps now is the time to give Henry Slade an opportunity in an England shirt.
9. Jack Nowell Should Start Ahead Of Jonny May
Although England struggled to give Nowell much ball, the few times he did get hold of it, for the most part her performed well. There were a couple of issues, however he showed enough against Ireland to suggest he should be given the opportunity to start again next time round against Scotland.e