England’s 21-13 defeat to Wales last weekend brought the men in white back down to earth with an almighty bump.
The naysayers will say this is a sign of things to come for England and that Eddie Jones’ plans are falling apart.
They would be totally and utterly wrong.
It is not time for Eddie Jones to throw out his plans and return to square one. England lost the game for three reasons.
Firstly the execution of their gameplan that served England so well against Ireland and France was off. The wonderful performance from Liam Williams didn’t help but if England had executed better I think Wales may have found themselves chasing the shadow of Jonny May as France did in round two.
Secondly composure first wained then completely deserted England, even Owen Farrell lost his cool. Kyle Sinckler’s indiscretions allowed Gareth Ansombe to cut the seven point deficit to just one. This led to the Principality Stadium’s crowd fill the cauldron with the infamous chorus of hymns and arias that can lift Wales to new heights.
Finally there was the introduction of Northampton’s Dan Biggar, and what a difference he made, he created Cory Hill’s game changing try before stamping out the flicker of hope England were holding onto when he picked out Josh Adams with a sumptuous cross kick to send the crowd into delirium.
These are fixable issues for England. There is no need for Scott Wisemantel to chuck out his plans and start again. Stick to the plan. Utilise the kicking game, turn the defence. Italy may be the game to reintroduce George Ford or bring in Dan Robson to attack as England’s title hopes could come down to bonus points should Ireland or Scotland put Wales to the sword.
Now, the composure. Owen Farrell will be better, how often do you see him have two bad games in a row? I don’t recall ever seeing this ever since his Anglo-Welsh Cup debut for Saracens. Kyle Sinckler will be more under control, he will be better, in the first half against Wales he was immense, he should look to his captain and fellow forwards when he is feeling the heat.
At Twickenham the composure will be easier to hold. There will not be the pressure cooker environment of Cardiff there will be 80,000 people willing England on, they need to thrive of this.
England can rest assured that not many players will be able to make the instant impact Dan Biggar did.
England need to relax and not go hitting the panic button, they can return home for their final two games, stick to the plan and hope Wales slip up. A loss to a pumped up Wales in Cardiff is not going to halt Eddie’s chariot, not this time.