Clive Woodward has blamed England’s reluctance to attack from their own half against Scotland on the lingering effects of Eddie Jones’ reign.
England suffered defeat to Scotland in Steve Borthwick’s first game in charge, which has already put the team firmly on the back foot in their pursuit of the Six Nations title.
Scotland played with more ambition that England with ball in hand, as Duhan van der Merwe’s winning try clearly displayed as the move started with the Scots’ own 22.
Writing in his column for the Daily Mail, Woodward argued that England’s players are still adverse to attacking from deep due to Jones’ previous tactics.
Clive Woodward on England’s loss to Scotland.
“The honeymoon period is over for Steve Borthwick after Calcutta Cup defeat but there were many positives and a few negatives to take from England’s display,” Woodward wrote.
“There is still a fear factor in the England players, a legacy of the Eddie Jones era that will take time for Borthwick to eradicate.
“England were programmed under Jones to minimise risk in their own half. That meant box kicking too often and kicking the ball away.
“England wouldn’t have dreamt of running the ball from their own 22 as Scotland did several times. The change to a more attacking approach won’t happen overnight, but it must take place.”
👏🏼 @Scotlandteam pic.twitter.com/eGZYflKhbv
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 4, 2023
Italy could prove to be a significant challenge.
England have a great opportunity to get back to winning ways when they welcome Italy to London this weekend, although the Azzurri aren’t the pushovers they once were.
Italy came close to clinching a famous win against France in round one, and have proven their quality with recent wins against Australia and Wales.
Borthwick’s men will of course still be favourites, although Italy have developed a potent attacking game plan under Kieran Crowley, albeit their kicking game certainly needs work.
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