Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Stopping Ireland no motivation for 'critical' England

Stopping Ireland no motivation for 'critical' England Stopping Ireland no motivation for 'critical' England
Melissa Porter | 12 March, 2018, 17:32

Rugby is evolving and according to coach Eddie Jones, England, who lost 16-22 to France in the Six Nations tournament last Saturday to hand the title to Ireland, are struggling to adapt to the way the game is being refereed.

Eddie Jones says the breakdown deficiencies exposed during England's Six Nations title defence could persist until the World Cup.

Ireland top the table with 19 points from four games after securing a 28-8 bonus-point victory over Scotland earlier on Saturday, meaning they can not be caught by England when the two teams meet at Twickenham next weekend.

Ireland will seek to complete a Grand Slam at Twickenham next weekend, but a wounded England will not be short of motivation having been denied a clean sweep of its own in Dublin in similar circumstances 12 months ago.

Ireland's win over Scotland in Dublin, coupled with England's loss in France, handed Joe Schmidt's side the crown. "So you've got to take that in equal doses".

Until, that was, the last two weeks.

Exeter's hard grafting Don Armand has been drafted into the squad as cover and given the injury problems in the back row, could play a role against Ireland. But we know that the biggest challenge is ahead still (against England).

"I always said this year would be the hardest year we'd have". "We'll have to look at how we can be more clinical".

England was stronger at the set-piece but ill-disciplined at the breakdown in the first 40 and that remained the case early in the second half.

"I told them that if we won it would open up new and positive things".

"It is global rugby and we know it is a step up from Premiership", said Danny Care, the England scrum-half.

'I think they're going to be really unsafe, ' Schmidt added. "And it's going to take us some time; it's not going to come quickly".

With Jones seeking more power at the breakdown, however, and indicating on Saturday that he is considering making changes to this effect, Simmonds could see his chance of being on from kick-off recede. "We were beaten at the breakdown, we gave away too many penalties, and when we had the momentum we didn't score, whereas they did".

"Every team is fallible and every team has a weakness and certain strengths and, at the moment, teams are outplaying us in certain areas of the game and we have to learn from it".

"I was pleased with the effort today, we were in a position to win the game", he said, adding that any team was "fallible and has weakness". I think we made twice as many line-breaks as them, so I don't think the result should tip the other way but I do think they were very close to getting right away a couple of times.

"We're in the loser's chair and it's not a happy place, but I don't think we should get too melodramatic about it". The boot is on the other foot after previous year and I'm sure they'll be licking their lips.