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What England Can Take Away From The Six Nations
Posted Mar 25, 2011 by Shaun Edwards
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Throughout the Six Nations, England had demonstrated time and time again that they were capable of obtaining wins in tight matches when they didn’t necessarily deserve to. However, in Dublin on Saturday luck didn’t even enter the equation: England were simply outplayed by far superior opposition in the Irish. So what can England learn from their under-whelming Six Nations win?
Physicality needs to be increased. One of England’s biggest strengths when reaching previous finals has been their ability to grind out victories playing really ugly, brutal rugby. You have to ask if they’re really still capable of doing so in 2011. Against Ireland, they were completely physically dominated, and you feel hard pushed to imagine anything different should England be confronted by the All-Blacks of Australia. Intensity and power needs to be increased throughout the whole side. How England could do with Martin Johnson in his prime now.
Be more inventive. One of the most obvious flaws in the England side in Dublin was their absence of any really inspired play. Ireland’s running and kicking far out-stripped them in the half-back area, with England simply passing and passing, again and again. The strongest southern hemisphere sides will crucify such a lack of imagination.
They need a real leader. There is little doubt that England do have natural skill in abundance coming through the ranks, with Wood, Corbisiero and Banahan all looking like great future prospects. However, there was little in the way of the iron, a lack of true warriors that will drag their country over the line. Jonny Wilkinson’s influence is without doubt still massive, but he will be unable to play the role whilst still an understudy. If England want to challenge for the top trophy, someone needs to step-up.
A full confirmed line-up is needed. Whilst the majority of the England side is more or less settled, they still need new blood to be drafted in permanently in order to plug-up certain positions. A high-class number 12 would do wonders for Toby Flood, a new tighthead prop in order to take over Phil Vickery’s role and could definitely do with an inside-centre playmaker. England will stand a far better chance of winning matches if they can fix these weaknesses.