Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Catt gives new boys free rein

England's attacking skills coach Mike Catt says Jack Nowell (right) and Jonny May (left) have the freedom to attack when they face France
England's attacking skills coach Mike Catt says Jack Nowell (right) and Jonny May (left) have the freedom to attack when they face France

Mike Catt insists England wings Jack Nowell and Jonny May have been given free rein to attack France in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations opener in Paris.

Uncapped Nowell has enjoyed a tackle-busting season at Exeter while the jet-heeled May, making his second Test appearance, is know for his ability to score from range at Gloucester.

"Something we've reiterated to the players is if it's on, then go. They make their decision - whatever they see they should do," England's attacking skills coach Catt said.

"If Jonny sees something then he goes, guys have to react around him.

"Jonny's there on merit and for how he plays his game. We don't want him to change the way he plays."

Catt believes the Stade de France showdown will only be decided in the closing stages of a match and expects a ferocious assault from Les Bleus' pack.

"France have picked a six-two bench so you know what's coming," Catt said.

"They're big, physical guys and for you to break them down will take until the 70th to 75th minute. I think the game will be won in that final 10-15 minutes.

"You've got to be smart. Just because we have good attacking runners doesn't mean we run everything. It's about getting the balance right.

"Players are getting bigger and more agile and you're tight five are a lot more mobile than they were seven or eight years ago.

"Your centres are the size of your back row, your wings are the size of your back row, so try getting through that brick wall.

"There's a massive emphasis on defence at the moment and you have to break that down. It's hard."

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