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England are failing to reach their potential, says Woodward

Posted on 01/31/2019 | in 深圳桑拿网 | by

England suffered their fifth successive defeat on Saturday, losing 31-28 to South Africa at Twickenham, and with the World Cup less than a year away there are growing concerns that Stuart Lancaster’s side struggle against the world’s best teams.

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Having already lost to New Zealand, England’s remaining November internationals are against Samoa and Australia, and Woodward, who masterminded England’s World Cup success in 2003, believes Lancaster must address his side’s problems quickly.

“We keep getting close on the scoreboard but in the cold light of day there is still a gap,” Woodward wrote in the Mail on Sunday. “The England coaches have got to be more clear on how they see England playing the game.

“What to do now against Samoa? There is talk of changes but what I would do is pick the ‘Gun’ XV that England want to start against Australia, which has now become an absolutely must-win game.

“That might well involve a few changes but England should not make switches of personnel just for the sake of it.

“This is actually not the time to experiment or rest players by some pre-planned strategy. Now is the time to pick the team you expect to beat Australia.”

However, Woodward conceded that the England squad could do with sprucing up a little and highlighted flyhalf Danny Cipriani, Toulon flanker Steffon Armitage and second row James Haskell as three players that could come to Lancaster’s aid.

“The England team are not a development team,” wrote Woodward. “We can’t go on talking about our young inexperienced players at this level.

“Have we got players who can go head to head with the world’s best? Yes, absolutely. But in the back division we are not currently playing in a way that will consistently pose these big teams problems.

“We are either not picking the right players or not picking the right combination of players in the positions where they can cause the most damage.

“More experienced players — different options — are available all across the team: Danny Cipriani, Steffon Armitage and James Haskell, to name just three.”

England host Samoa at Twickenham next weekend before coming up against fellow World Cup Pool A opponents Australia on Nov. 29.

(Reporting By Michael Hann; editing by Toby Davis)

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