"Car crash partnership" - Sir Clive Woodward slams 'in the way' Owen Farrell - Ruck

“Car crash partnership” – Sir Clive Woodward slams ‘in the way’ Owen Farrell

Marcus Smith should have been given more responsibility against Australia with Owen Farrell holding him back, according to coach SIr Clive Woodward.

England passed their first serious test of the autumn as an incisive first-half attacking performance paved the way to an eighth straight victory over Australia.

However, the World Cup-winning coach was left a little disappointed by how England set up for the game at Twickenham.

“Smith had a useful first half although having picked him to start I found it strange to see him stripped of responsibility,” wrote Woodward in his column for the Mail Online.

“Owen Farrell was instead goal kicking and he also stepped in as first receiver on a few occasions. It was a bit of a car crash.

“The overall effect was to take Smith out of the game slightly. Elite Test rugby is very different from even top-level club rugby and you have to adapt to that but you also want to keep your basic game and responsibilities as close as possible to what you do week in week out. 

“You want to play the kind of game that earned you international selection in the first place. So there is plenty to work on for England after Saturday. I would expect much better against South Africa and they will need to improve considerably to beat the Boks.”


Three England stars who failed to perform against Australia – and who should replace them

#1. Sam Underhill (replaced by Alex Dombrandt)

The Bath flanker has been unable to overcome his struggles domestically to hit top form for his country and departed early for the second week in a row after missing FOUR tackles. This move would see Tom Curry, who has not shone at number 8, refer back to his normal position on the flanker with Dombrandt taking the eight shirt. The Harlequins powerhouse made a significant impact off the bench, making more metres (35) in five minutes than Underhill did in 60.

Alex Dombrandt of England warms up before the Autumn Nations Match between England and Australia at Twickenham on 13 November 2021. Photo: Micah Crook/PPAUK