Six Nations: Sir Clive Woodward still blaming Eddie Jones for England’s issues
Sir Clive Woodward believes that Eddie Jones’ influence in the current England squad remains following their Calcutta Cup defeat to Scotland.
The 62-year-old was sacked as the Red Rose boss in December, with Steve Borthwick taking charge ahead of the Six Nations.
In Borthwick’s first game, England succumbed to the Scots 29-23, which meant the Calcutta Cup once again went back north of the border.
Gregor Townsend’s men have now claimed three successive victories over the Red Rose, leaving Woodward frustrated.
Low risk rugby
“There is still a fear factor in the England players, a legacy of the Eddie Jones era that will take time for Borthwick to eradicate,” Woodward wrote in a column for the Daily Mail.
“England were programmed under Jones to minimise risk in their own half.
“That meant box-kicking too often and kicking the ball away. England wouldn’t have dreamt of running the ball from their own 22 as Scotland did several times. The change to a more attacking approach won’t happen overnight, but it must take place.”
Woodward then picked holes in the Marcus Smith-Owen Farrell axis, despite them combining well in phase play to help England score three tries.
“England created opportunities, but the partnership between Smith and Owen Farrell is just not working,” he wrote. “I understand why they were picked as the 10-12 combination for this game because England lost three centres to injury. But I think if that hadn’t happened, Borthwick would have gone for Farrell as the starting fly-half.”
The World Cup-winning head coach also criticised England’s midfield defence as they got off to a losing start in the Six Nations.
“Scotland ran rings around England at 10, 12 and 13. Their centres Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones were outstanding and played outside a world-class talent in Finn Russell,” Woodward added.
“England weren’t at that level in midfield. It was almost like watching Premiership backs against some from the Championship.
“(Attack coach Nick) Evans and Smith are close because of their Harlequins connection, but I think England have now got to choose one or the other when it comes to him or Farrell. I feel sorry for Farrell. He really is a world-class number 10 but isn’t at that level as an inside centre.
“Sunday’s match against Italy could be a chance to bring Manu Tuilagi back into the fold to try to get him firing as he hasn’t been at his best this season — though Borthwick will be wary after Italy so nearly shocked France yesterday. We still don’t know England’s best 10-12-13 combination and it is holding the team back.”
READ MORE: ‘We weren’t good at anything’ says England head coach Steve Borthwick
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