Richard Cockerill believes England should stop trying to copy New Zealand and return to the uncompromising rugby that saw them claim World Cup glory in 2003.

As a five-man panel continues to review England’s disappointing campaign which saw them become the first host nation to fail to progress beyond the pool stages, the Leicester Tigers boss wants England to reclaim their national identity.

“I think you have to play how England play, and play to our strengths,” said Cockerill. “I don’t want to play like New Zealand because we can’t.


“I’ve got two Kiwi coaches that work with me, they asked me about that and I said: ‘New Zealanders are born and given a rugby ball, Englanders are born and given a football’.

“We start to learn rugby, it’s not our first love, that’s just the nature of it. Our soccer team’s better than theirs, hopefully.

“In the Northern Hemisphere and England, we have a very attritional mindset, we are bloody minded about what we do. And personally I think we spend too much time coveting the promised land of how others do things.

“We can compete and we’ve shown it, and we can play differently from Southern Hemisphere sides and beat them.

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