2003 World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward has blasted Eddie Jones’ XV for their Six Nations clash with Italy this weekend.
In an article for the Mail headlined ‘Same old faces for a side that is stuck in the past’, Woodward writes: “This team seems like a throwback to the World Cup. They are not evolving.”
He questions Jones sticking with the old guard and says new players were needed after last week’s shock home defeat to Scotland.
“Eleven of the World Cup final XV who lost against South Africa start again and that number would be 14 out of 15 if Manu Tuilagi and Sam Underhill weren’t injured, and George Kruis wasn’t unavailable because he’s playing in Japan,” wrote Woodward.
“You could argue that the only change in selection since that defeat is a straight choice between Luke Cowan-Dickie and Jamie George at hooker. On this occasion, Cowan-Dickie gets the nod.
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“England are trying to rediscover their semi-final showing against New Zealand but the emphasis must be on replicating that style of play. It does not require picking the same players.
“The team to play Italy is strong. And it was a strong side on paper against Scotland last week — but they just didn’t do themselves justice. There was no tempo, no urgency, no control and still too much mindless kicking.
“Consequently, Owen Farrell ignored a seven-on-three overlap on one occasion and kicked the ball because he is programmed to do it. He would never do that for Saracens.”
Sir Clive Woodward selects HIS current England XV
- Fullback: Max Malins (Bristol Bears)
- Winger: Anthony Watson (Bath)
- Winger: Jonny May (Gloucester)
DID YOU KNOW? Anthony Watson started in all three tests for the Lions in 2017 and was one of the stars of the tour.
- Outside-centre: Pier O’Conor (Bristol Bears)
- Inside-centre: Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Woodward said: “Max Malins and Piers O’Conor have been in excellent form for Bristol and have real gas. There is no substitute for it.”
DID YOU KNOW? Slade has Type 1 diabetes, and often injects insulin at half-time in a game