Stuart Barnes: England will need more than mental strength to beat New Zealand

Stuart Barnes: England will need more than mental strength to beat New Zealand

A good win for England but for fifty minutes that was an unashamedly ugly game of rugby; this was an afternoon where the result eclipsed the performance, which is just as well.

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Comments (9)

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Mark Ditts says...

England are a very ordinary side who managed to beat a poor Argentinian side today and a very weak Aussie side last week. To think England has any hope against NZ next week is laughable.

Posted 19:58 9th November 2013

Greg Nicol says...

Everyone one is talking about the England midfield being a problem area,however I believe there is also issues with the back three. Ashton is becoming a real problem, he seems to offer less and less in attack and defensively he consistently makes mistakes. I fail to understand why he was not dropped months ago he is just not up to par. As good as brown was on Saturday I still think he lacks a yard of pace for a true international. My short term answer is drop Ashton and bring in foden, he is strong and quick and is a genuine back three rather than just a wing. He is very sound defensively and proven at international level, bringing in wade is too much of a risk Defensively.

Posted 10:08 7th November 2013

Lawrence Brady says...

I'm a big fan of Wade but I can't help but worry that he's another Varndell. Fantastic with the ball in hand but poor defensively, under the high ball and an average kicker. At international level I'm sure he would get found out, as he did for the lions vs. Brumbies. The top international wingers like Habana, Smith and North have learnt to be world class across all these areas, so far I don't see Wade reaching their level of consistency. I hope I am wrong as what an exciting player to watch.

Posted 13:33 5th November 2013

Tom Denning says...

It amazes me how people (including the England management team) can write off players after a single performance in a white shirt. Take Twelvetrees for example yes he missed that tackle but he couldn't make up for that mistake as Lancaster insists on sticking with the least creative fly half in the country. Farrell is a master at what he does, however what he does is extremely limited, he lacks the ability to get a backline going which affects the players outside him, Farrells lack of inventiveness negated Twelevetree's ability to spread the ball and use the wingers who end up receiving little or no ball. If Lancaster persists with Farrell at ten then he needs a creative influence outside him not a barritt or a burrell who lack the distribution ability of a second playmaker at 12.

Posted 22:28 4th November 2013

Matthew Ward says...

Twelvetrees has a much worse passing game than he is given credit for, not an international player, Eastmond must be 12.

Posted 14:47 4th November 2013

Ryan Da rocha says...

Hi Stuart, Another great article, thanks again. Personally, i thought the game was very very poor. It's sad to see an Australian side losing to a performance like that. Being honest, both sides were rubbish - miles away from a team capable of competing at the next world cup. Talking of junk, how junky is Marland Yarde? His low centre of gravity really helps his power through the tackle. I would just love to see him twerk, i think he would put Mylie Cyrus to shame. Well, at least that is what i've heard on the twerk vine. thanks! Ryan

Posted 13:30 4th November 2013

Swing Low says...

Despite not setting the game alight, England didn't do too badly at all v Australia; who are an established top team that are battle hardened coming off the back of a Lions series and 4 nations campaign. England's several newbie backs don't inspire confidence but have a feeling that will come in time, this was their first trot out... roll on Argentina!

Posted 13:25 4th November 2013

Bob Simmons says...

Hi Stuart. Injuries aside do you think a potential partnership for 2015 could be Eastmond and Tuilagi? Eastmond played well in Argentina before injuring himself for Bath early this season. I think the quick footwork, step and soft hands of Eastmond would balance brilliantly with Tuilagi's less subtle but extremely effective skill set. Obviously Tuilagi is out but Eastmond is a player that has the skill set to unlock defences and is superior at making a break than Twelvetrees, also defensively he's a demon. Now he is fit again I would really like to see him given a go against Argentina with Tomkins/Burrell in the midfield. Also what are your thoughts on Ashton? He missed yet another tackle due to poor positioning (positioning was poor all game) in the build up to Australia's try and didn't do much if anything going forward. Christian Wade's criticism is that he is defensively vulnerable and poor under the high ball yet Ashton can't make a 1 on 1 tackle to save his life at the moment and isn't exactly solid under a bomb, and hasn't been for at least 12 months now. There are plenty of good, wingers, not just Wade but Strettle, May etc. who are equal if not better defensively and offer more going forward, illustrated by Wade's finishing at Kingsholm on the weekend. Surely Wade must be pushing for a starting berth against Argentina. Yarde and Wade on the wings would provide a threat and potential England have not possessed out wide since 2003. Thanks, Bob.

Posted 12:41 4th November 2013

Steve Taylor says...

These types of game are to test new individuals and partnerships as well as to test the current form of the established. That being the case surely it is time to drop Aston in favour on another with defensive capabilities?

Posted 12:31 4th November 2013

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