"Confused, Puzzled" - Sir Clive Woodward slams England's line-up - Ruck

“Confused, Puzzled” – Sir Clive Woodward slams England’s line-up

Sir Clive Woodward has been left puzzled by the England team to play Scotland picked by head coach Eddie Jones.

“It’s not quite the England team I would have picked,” wrote Woodward in his column for the Mail Online.

“And perhaps not yours either. I wanted Alex Dombrandt to help control the game at No 8, the dynamic Sam Simmonds as a surprise choice at blindside and Mark Atkinson as a specialist No 12. 

“I am also a little concerned that in essence England have a brilliant full-back on one wing — Max Malins — and a long-time centre Joe Marchant on the other.

“Both are terrific players and could deliver in spades and stop any debate stone dead. Malins’ ability under the high ball could prove very useful and Marchant is a fine all-round talent. 

“Equally, Finn Russell is a crafty enough operator at 10 to exploit any uncertainty and hesitancy in an England back division that might take time to gel.

“I’d pay good money to see a backrow of Dombrandt, Simmonds and Tom Curry and I am therefore slightly puzzled by Lewis Ludlam’s selection, as impressive as he is for Northampton.

“Dombrandt can dictate the tempo from No 8 and has that natural instinct to pick his moments — and the correct lines — in attack. He also links instinctively with his club colleague Marcus Smith at 10.”


Sir Clive Woodward’s first pick in dream XV was clear as household names shunned

The first name on the teamsheet was of course the legendary Jonah Lomu!


Fullback: Jason Robinson (England) – He was a sponge and soaked up every single rugby union skill. By the end he was probably the best kicker out of hand we had, he laid the ball back at rucks perfectly and his tackle technique was perfect. What a player.

Winger: Rory Underwood (England): The speedster never really got the credit he deserved for his consistency for club and country.

Wing: Jonah Lomu (New Zealand) – He took rugby to a whole new level. There’s very rarely one player who dominates a whole World Cup and he certainly did. First name on the teamsheet.


Outside-centre: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland) – In the Grand Slam game in 2003, we worked on a plan to man-mark him with three players, so the tackler was not exposed by O’Driscoll’s footwork and pace in a one-on-one situation. That’s how big a threat we believed he was – he needed three men to handle him. Ireland were going for a Grand Slam, but none of the players around Brian were in the same league.

Inside-centre: Will Greenwood (England): “I think as a pair, O’Driscoll and Woodard, they would dominate any midfield and I like the thought of them together.”


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