Mike Brown has called for Eddie Jones to drop England captain Owen Farrell for next week’s game against Italy.
England were stunned by Scotland at Twickenham Stadium in their first game of the 2021 Six Nations, leaving Farrell and co. looking unprepared for the intensity of international rugby.
Farrell, along with his fellow Saracens players, hasn’t played a competitive game of rugby since December, needlessly kicked the ball away on numerous occasions during the course of the 80 minutes.
Brown, who played with Farrell for years with England, wrote in the Daily Mail that he believes the time has come for Jones to drop his captain.
“Eddie Jones talks about giving the English rugby public something to smile about in the current climate but people can’t be enjoying this England. His side have some brilliant outside backs and it is time to use them.
“Next weekend could be time for a change and I would put Owen Farrell on the bench and start with George Ford against Italy on Saturday.
Eddie Jones has given his reaction following defeat at Twickenham.
Read his thoughts on our website.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 6, 2021
“Compared to his usual high standards Farrell was poor at Twickenham, with England wasting four-man overlaps and kicking the ball away. Enough is enough now and I would give Ford a chance to show how he can lead the backs,” Brown wrote.
England employed a similar gameplan against Scotland to the one they used in the Autumn Nations Cup, which largely consists of kicking the ball to the opposition then trusting the defence to smother the other team.
‘It’s time to give the ball to the backs.’
However, those tactics were unsuccessful against Scotland and Brown has urged England to become more attack-minded, for both themselves and their fans.
“I would rather see England get some of their dangerous players into the match and give them a chance to express themselves — I don’t enjoy watching kick-chase all the time and I am sure people at home don’t either.
“England need to start pushing their game plan and let the creative, elusive outside backs like Jonny May, Anthony Watson and Henry Slade have more of a chance in the game.
“A more balanced game plan would keep defences guessing and that is how England can build pressure — at the moment we are only using half the players on the field.
“It is time to share the load and give the ball out to these backs and give fans something to really get excited about,” Brown commented.
Italy should present the perfect opportunity for England to hone their attack after conceding seven tries to the French in their Six Nations opener.
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