Former England winger and World Cup winner Jason Robinson has hit out at Stuart Lancaster’s team selection in this Autumn’s test matches and doesn’t understand what England are trying to achieve.
In his column for the Evening Standard, Robinson believes some of Lancaster’s decisions have been very strange and is concerned ahead of England’s test against Australia on Saturday.
Robinson insisted: “England’s back-line selections for the autumn internationals have been bizarre- I haven’t got a clue what they are trying to achieve.
Lancaster's long-term vision called into question
“I have been confused about the way head coach Stuart Lancaster and his selectors have handled certain players, most notably winger Semesa Rokoduguni and centre Kyle Eastmond.”
The 2003 World Cup winner went on to say Rokoduguni and Eastmond should have been given more playing time instead of being sent back to their clubs.
“What kind of message is that giving out from the England camp? These guys must go back to their clubs scratching their heads wondering ‘where do I fit in?”
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Is rotation the right way forward
England have had a disappointing Autumn with losses to New Zealand and South Africa, poor results which Robinson believes have been partly down to Lancaster’s rotation policy. This weekend, Billy Twelvetrees will start at centre ahead of Owen Farrell, whilst Dylan Hartley and Tom Wood have also returned to the starting XV.
“I have real concerns about the backs- there seems to be a lot of confusion about England’s best starting back-line and, hopefully, this line-up will play well against Australia.”
Lancaster's record deserves scrutiny
Stuart Lancaster’s record against the southern hemisphere big three (New Zealand, South Africa and Australia) is now just two wins from 13 matches. The former full-back and winger scored 140 points in his 51 caps and played in two World Cups for England. Robinson believes the last test of the year is crucial before next year’s tournament.
“Psychologically, this is a huge game for both teams because if England lose, we will have failed to beat any of the major southern hemisphere teams in the build up to the tournament. That is why we have to win.
“We need to win because a loss means we go into World Cup year with doubt in the players’ minds. We have to arrive at the tournament knowing we have beaten Australia and can do it again.”