Analysis

Brian Smith’s Analysis – England Get It Done.

Brian Smith’s Analysis – England Get It Done.

Eddie Jone’s sweet chariot rolls on in this seasons 6 Nations championship after a gritty win at Twickenham on Saturday. The men in white had to dig deep to hold off Wales and there was some controversy around a TMO call but at the end of the day this team knows how to win. They executed a simple attacking game plan and scrambled well in defence. However, Wales exposed some issues that England will have to address as they head into the next round.

Target the Rookie

In the lead up to the match Eddie Jones called out Rhys Patchell in a bid to ruffle the feathers of Wale’s 3rd string fly half. England clearly targeted Patchell with an early box kick knowing he would be defending in the back field. It was a simple and effective tactic. Anthony Watson contested the kick and Patchell could not secure the ball…the rest is history.

Rollerball

England’s second try started positively with a well worked lineout play that almost unpicked Shaun Edward’s blitz defence. They then went into Eddie Jone’s “rollerball” mode using one off runners to pepper the gain line and and build momentum.

Then, 24 phases later Owen Farrell attacked Wales on the blind side and Joe Launchbury laid on Jonny May’s second try with a beautiful offload.

Scramble Defence

Wales certainly created plenty of scoring chances but England scrambled like men possessed on a number of occasions. This clip is a great example of their desire to work for each other. Watch the effort of Englands’ replacement back rower Sam Underhill as he gets off the floor to scramble and shut out Scott Williams as the Welshman looked set to score.

England Issue

A number of times in this game Mike Brown struggled to cover well placed kicks to the corners. He’s been a force for England at the back for a long time but he’ll be targeted by the better teams in this competition and Eddie Jones will know that. Clive Woodward is already calling for Anthony Watson to play at fullback and at some time in the future it seems like the way to go. Playing Watson at fullback will make the back three faster and more dynamic. Imagine England with May, Nowell and Watson all on the pitch at the same time.

Conclusion

I love the way England are playing, it’s simple and effective. They exit with a great kicking game off 9 and when they get into the opposition half they have a well balanced attack. They have variety in their strike plays and they’re very direct with their phase play. At this point it looks like England and Ireland are the teams to beat.

Analysis

Brian Smith is a rare breed who has both played and coached international rugby and doesn't mind telling it as he sees it. He's currently putting his Oxford degree to good use teaching Commerce and coaching rugby at the Scots College, Sydney.

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