Problems for England remain ahead of Rugby World Cup despite gutsy Ireland loss

Ireland wing McHinson (L) tackles England wing Henry Arundel (R) during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on March 18, 2023. — AFP

London: England Ireland regained a measure of confidence before failing to deny them a Six Nations grand slam but Steve Borthwick’s men face fundamental problems just months after the Rugby World Cup kicks off in September.

After last week’s humiliating and record-breaking 53-10 home defeat, England were expected to suffer a fresh defeat in Dublin on Saturday. France hosts the World Cup at Twickenham.

England, however, were far too flexible at Lansdowne Road, a sign that they were getting to grips with defense coach Kevin Sanfield’s methods.

They were trailing just 10-6 in the game when full-back Freddie Steward was sent off on the stroke of half-time for making contact with the head of Ireland counterpart Hugo Cannon.

But a combination of man breakdown and the quality of the hosts saw Ireland eventually claim a 29-16 victory.

Unfortunately for England, after showing some much-needed consistency, this was their last competitive match before they kick off their World Cup campaign against Argentina — who drew them to Twickenham during last year’s autumn campaign. I was defeated—at Marseilles on September 9.

Building what we want to build

England captain Owen Farrell said a lot could happen before then, not least injuries to key personnel ITV: “We have to go back to our clubs and work hard to become better players so that when we come back we can be a better team.

“Next time we get together we’ll have a good time together so we can work on what we want to make.”

Ireland’s defeat meant that 2003 world champions England ended their third consecutive Six Nations with just two wins from five games.

He decided to end veteran coach Eddie Jones’ seven-year England tenure in December and then, more surprisingly, install Borthwick.

Jones, who led England to the 2019 World Cup final defeat by South Africa, has a fine record in the showpiece tournament and, thanks to a ridiculously one-sided draw, his old side still A team could make it to the semi-finals without playing. Up from seventh in the rankings.

Former England captain Borthwick, who guided Leicester to the Premiership title last season, would have had a clean slate instead of the messy situation he inherited had he replaced coaching mentor Jones after the World Cup.

But the coaching appointments, or whether Owen Farrell or Marcus Smith start at fly-half, cannot mask more fundamental problems, particularly concerns about the strength and pace of England’s pack.

Both Ireland and France have also seen their youth systems produce more top-class players in recent years, with the Irish under-20s thrashing their French counterparts 42-7 against England on Sunday. A bid was made for Salem. Timeout.

Two Premiership teams, Wasps and Worcester, have also been relegated from the Premiership this season, with clubs from Ireland and France – the world’s top-ranked rugby nations – more closely linked in the quest for World Cup honours. .

It may be asking too much of English rugby’s decision-makers to hold their nerve after England’s first-round exit on home soil at the 2015 World Cup, but the Irish have yet to face their old rivals Andy Farrell. has benefited from the move to ditch, now Ireland head coach and assistant Mike Catt.

In the 2015 World Cup, England boss Stuart Lancaster and Graham Rountree have also become important figures in the Irish provinces of Leinster and Munster respectively.

“Many grounds. [with England] were fine,” Lancaster said The BBC.

“We’ve won four out of five Six Nations games for four years. When you leave a country you take with you the experience you’ve developed and indirectly, you take it to another country. Give.”

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