Steve Borthwick got his selection right against Italy but there has to be a mindset shift if England are to get fans out of their seats and be successful. Those two things go hand in hand as well because England aren’t going to win anything by playing boring rugby… and it was like going back to the nineties at times at Twickenham when it was all about the catch and drive.
That might sound odd coming from someone whose playing career was built around kicking to the corner and putting his forwards in good positions but the game has moved on significantly, especially at international level.
I understand the need to get a first win under your belt and go back to basics to a certain extent so it is tough to criticise Borthwick too much just yet, but he knows he has to hit the ground running and he definitely didn’t deliver the excitement he has talked about.
In fact, some people thought the most exciting thing on Sunday was James Haskell’s DJ set at half-time, which dropped out before his last tune, and the biggest cheer was for the cannon firing t-shirts into the crowd. A win’s a win but I actually think England played better rugby against Scotland. Four of the five tries came from lineouts – it was all about forward power and England lost the second half 14-12.
The most worrying aspect, though, was that the players’ first thought was always to kick the ball in behind when they did have a bit of possession. It even got to the stage where Ben Earl was receiving the ball in the second half and opting to go for a chip through.