Parling - I'm a lineout nerd
Geoff Parling is primed to target Wales' lineout when he makes his first England start in Saturday's Six Nations clash.
Last Updated: 24/02/12 2:07pm
England's self-confessed lineout nerd Geoff Parling is primed to target Wales' Achilles heel in Saturday's RBS Six Nations showdown after trawling through hours of analysis.
Parling, 28, will make his first Test start at Twickenham after replacing Tom Palmer as the brains behind England's lineout operation.
After scruffy performances in the wins against Scotland and Italy, Parling has been selected to create a strong attacking platform from which Owen Farrell can unleash the likes of Manu Tuilagi.
But the Leicester lock has been working to crack the Welsh code, studying the habits of Warren Gatland's men in the hope that England can rule the air at Twickenham.
Parling is relishing his battle of wits with Alun-Wyn Jones, who has been recalled to strengthen Wales' inconsistent lineout after recovering from injury.
"I have always been a bit of a lineout nerd," Parling said.
"Somebody asked me if I was a 70's throwback player. I'm more set-piece orientated than other people and I like to get that bit of the game right.
"I like to do a fair bit of analysis and then give snippets that I think the other lads need to know. If you give some prop forwards too much information, you are going to overload them!
"So I give them just a few little snippets and keep the rest to myself and the other lineout jumpers.
"It is a much more technical area than people would think unless you have been involved. I almost see it as a battle with the other guy that is calling the lineout.
"It is a one-on-one battle. You are trying to figure out what he's going to call and he's doing the same."
England want to hit Wales with an attacking game they have not managed to produce so far this championship, and that will rely on quick ball from the breakdown and clean set-piece possession.
"Geoff has worked so hard for this opportunity," said England coach Stuart Lancaster.
"He's 28 now, so it hasn't come quickly or easily, but his understanding of the mechanics of the lineout and how to deliver the right kind of ball under pressure makes him very important to us.
"There's more to his game than the lineout, though. He runs very good lines, for example. If a lot of what he does isn't flash, it's no less vital for that."
Lineout calls are a closely guarded secret, so much so that there have been incidences in the past of teams spying on one another in the hope of cracking them.
In 2005, the British and Irish Lions changed all their calls at the last minute after fearing New Zealand had broken their code.
"I don't want to give too much away but you are looking for habits," Parling said.
"When I am at Leicester I pick up the laptop on a Sunday night and start studying the footage for the next weekend's game. It's a really important part of the game."