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There will be no major alterations made to the England team before their upcoming Six Nations match against Ireland.
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There will be no major alterations made to the England team before their upcoming Six Nations match against Ireland.

The attack coach for England, Richard Wigglesworth, cautions against making too many changes in response to the possession issues faced by Steve Borthwick’s team during the Six Nations. Instead, he proposes that maintaining long-term cohesion is a better approach to improving their fluidity as a team.

England is using their break week in York to get ready for the upcoming match against Ireland at Twickenham. Following their loss to Scotland in the Calcutta Cup, there has been discussion about conducting an honest evaluation to prevent any further struggles in their offensive game throughout the tournament.

However, Wigglesworth dismissed the notion of conducting intense and aggressive review sessions. He stated that the coaching staff will instead adopt a cautious approach in analyzing England’s flaws and mistakes. “In sports, our success is determined by our wins and losses, and it is our responsibility to guide the team towards our desired goals,” he emphasized.

“But wholesale changes are rarely the answer. We’ve spoken about growing cohesiveness and we have to know what changes we want to make and the reasons why. Those days are long gone; I once played a Test match in New Zealand and the whole backline was axed the week after, but the pack wasn’t. There needs to be clear rationale, you want everything to be explained and under Steve, we’re doing that.”

Wigglesworth observed that England’s performance in attack at Murrayfield was cautious. He noted that from the start, they were not going directly towards the opposing team’s goal, but rather passing the ball away. This led to mistakes being made, possibly due to attempting unfamiliar techniques that had not been practiced in the preceding weeks.

Mistakes are inevitable in Test matches, but there is a difference between making errors while attempting to push yourself and challenge the defense, and making errors without even trying. In fact, your chances of making mistakes increase when you are doing something unfamiliar. Our team is accustomed to challenging the opposing line, moving the ball, and securing quick possession, but we deviated from these strategies during the match.

The prospect of half-back pairing Marcus Smith and Alex Mitchell being fit for the Ireland game would undoubtedly give England’s attack an extra edge and Wigglesworth said he was optimistic both had a chance of featuring. Smith has not yet featured in this tournament, while Mitchell missed the Scotland defeat with a knee problem. “We’re hopeful, but we’ve not done anything yet in terms of seeing if they could get involved in a Test match,” Wigglesworth said. “We’ll see how they go today and then tomorrow will be a big day for them. Then we’ll see how they go at the start of next week.”


Resuming his position, Smith’s comeback would result in a compelling competition for the coveted No 10 jersey with Fin Smith and George Ford. Wigglesworth assured that even though facing the formidable Ireland team, England is confident in putting their inexperienced players in the line of fire against such formidable opponents.

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“If a player is prepared, then he is prepared for our team. It’s not that he is unable to play against any specific opponents,” he stated. “By not selecting someone who is ready, we would be doing ourselves a disservice. I have full confidence in our players, and if we determine they are the best choice to start, they are prepared to play.”

Source: theguardian.com