Rugby Union

England should gamble with Henry Slade against Australia

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England should gamble with young Henry Slade in their World Cup pool A decider against Australia on Saturday.

England have struggled in the midfield over the opening two games, especially in the defeat by Wales at Twickenham on Saturday.

Yet surprisingly enough, it was not the decision to play Rugby Union rookie Sam Burgess that had tails wagging, nor the injury to outside centre Jonathan Joseph.

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Brad Barritt, the ever assured England hard man has come under increased scrutiny after the first two games of the tournament, with people worrying whether he is really good enough to hold down that 12 jersey.

He is resolute and stubborn in defence and never misses a tackle, but in attack he offers virtually nothing and England were found wanting against a below-strength Wales side who have suffered no less than seven back injuries.

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Burgess offered something different for England, and really quelled the attacking threat of Jamie Roberts, winning the big collisions and repeatedly breaking the game line in attack.

But when England tried to use a different outlet, they came up trumps and questions are being asked as to the whereabouts of Henry Slade and why he is not being afforded his chance on the big stage.

The young Exeter Chiefs versatile back can play at 10, 12 and 13 and is an excellent ball player, capable of reading the game in the same way as someone far more senior.

His skill set means he offers so much in both attack and defence. His sturdy left boot removes some weight of either Owen Farrell of George Ford's shoulders, and he can operate in more than one position, something that Barritt cannot provide.

It's win or bust for Stuart Lancaster's men on Saturday night and if England are going to go out, why not go out fighting against the Wallabies.

Australia haven't won at Twickenham since 2012, so hopes will be high going into the late kick off. England will know that if they win and Australia beat Wales in Cardiff, that the group is up in the air.

Can England make up for their embarrassing and gut-wrenching defeat by Wales on Saturday by smashing rivals Australia?

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Topics:
Rugby Union
Wales Rugby
England Rugby
Australia Rugby
IRB Rugby World Cup

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