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Tyrone Howe: Dour English will have to change their tune to end crisis

The best comment I heard over the weekend was about the Scotland and England game.

A rugby enthusiast had started watching the aforementioned match but got so bored that he starting flicking channels and ended up watching more of Mr Bean on Holiday than he did of the rugby action, or lack of it.

Not one try, precious few line breaks for either side, and not one turnover for England. Over the course of 80 minutes, it produced little of real quality and English rugby is most definitely in crisis.

Increasingly, the English set-up seems more like Hitler in the last few days in his bunker convinced that Germany is still going to win the war. But why the surprise? It is a simple case of cause and effect.

If you pick a side to play limited rugby, then it will produce limited rugby.

If you drop your best player not on performance but because he does not fit the negative style of rugby you intend to play, then you inevitably lose credibility.

There will be changes for England’s last game against France and I expect Ben Foden to finally get a start at fullback.

Moreover, I would certainly parachute Mike Tindall into the team after terrific individual displays in the last fortnight for Gloucester.

No matter, it is too little too late and the main damage has already been done.

No matter who plays, change is urgently required in the ethos, and that ethos is instilled by Martin Johnson, who seems criminally resistant to change and to criticism.

Before last weekend I would have been tempted to say that England were in danger of losing their home support. The danger has passed. It is now in the present and English supporters everywhere are disillusioned by the stale messages which continue to resonate from the English camp.

“Misery shared at Murrayfield” was one of the headlines. I expect that misery to increase for England in Paris and the resultant inquest will not be for the faint-hearted.

Belfast Telegraph


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