Rugby Union


What England need to do to win the Six Nations this year?

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This has been a top talking point since the appointment of Eddie Jones and not simply because of his admittedly outstanding achievements with the Japan set-up, but also because England were regarded as chronic under-performers during the Lancaster era.

Lancaster never really won all of the supporters over, his style of rugby lacked in creativity and was far too conservative, but it was the lack of dynamism is what really undermined England during his tenure - something that Eddie Jones seems capable of injecting into the squad.

Of course, there are some magic moments for any team but the reality is that England have not won a single major title since the 2011 Six Nations (discounting the 2014 triple crown) and nothing under Lancaster's reign, how can this change?


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First of all, the team selection and the desire for form over big names.

Dave Ewers has been consistently left out of the squad in favour of Chris Robshaw, a decidedly average international performer.

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Owen Farrell has never been especially superb on the international stage, Brad Barritt and Luther Burrell are utterly two-dimensional and Sam Burgess was simply not ready.

Henry Slade should have been picked a year before the World Cup and Dylan Hartley has proven without a doubt he is too much of a liability to be part of the squad. Selection, therefore, needs to be based on who has earned it and deserves to be there, nothing else.

Secondly, the play style must be addressed. Of course, Robshaw made some silly calls in his time, all captains will do at some point, but the collapse against Wales was inexcusable.

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The truth is, like many games, Wales didn't win but England lost. The failure to maintain attacking, creative rugby allowed a very motivated and capable Welsh side back into the game - hardly the first collapse against Warren Gatland's side in recent years.

Dynamism and aggression is sorely lacking, as is a desire to go forward. This is even more relevant given the possibility of the points system being changed within the sport to further reward tries over kicks to create a more attacking game.

Finally, the French question. Personally, the argument for the Australian-style selection policy to be most persuasive, or at least one influenced by it in its aims.


England cannot continue to ignore players simply because they are not in England, Australia changed their policy ahead of the World Cup and brought back Matt Giteau who turned out to be a key player for them. Jones' statement that he will not change this was a mistake and he missed a trick to create a more beneficial policy.

England could win the Six Nations, but first a rebuilding process has to be completed. If the moves in the right direction can be seen this year then the future looks bright for the largest union in the world.

This is not to say they won't win in 2016, however, let's look to walk before we can run.

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Six Nations
England Rugby
Rugby Union

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