England rugby squad need to work on a game plan and attacking efficiency

England rugby squad need to work on a game plan

The ideal scenario for England rugby squad is of course four wins out of four during this 2022 Autumn Nations series. However, two priorities that continue to hinder England and Eddie Jones are their attack and the side’s game plan.

That would be the wins for England during this autumn nation series – produce a more dynamic game plan that in turn improves England’s attacking efficiency. England faces four tough matches in four weeks. An improving Pumas outfit coached by the wily Michael Cheika is first up this coming Sunday. Followed by Japan – who could have beaten the All Blacks last weekend – New Zealand, and then the world champions, South Africa.

Charlie Inglefield identifies key areas that England will hopefully work on over the next four weeks.

No easy games to begin with for England rugby squad

On paper, Argentina and Japan represent the two easiest games for England during the autumn nation series. But, Eddie Jones knows the qualities of his great mate and rival Michael Cheika. Cheika has done an incredible job of getting Lebanon through to the quarter-finals of the Rugby League World Cup.

Cheika has also done great things with an underperforming Argentinian outfit this year, including the memorable win over the All Blacks on New Zealand soil over the summer. Jones and England dare not underestimate Argentina on Sunday.

And then there is Japan, who if they had not given the All Blacks such a fast start on Saturday might well have beaten them. After a tough few years following their magical 2019 World Cup campaign, the Blossoms look like they have rediscovered their mojo. Coach Jamie Joseph has made a point publicly this week of wanting his team to perform better overseas. England and the others have been warned.

These are two games where England could well slip up if they are not careful. We should remember that an excellent Australia series win cannot cover up the attacking struggles that England continue to suffer from.

Focus points: selection consistency

Surely now is the time when Eddie Jones needs to put his best team out there. Naturally, there will be injuries, Courtney Lawes and Jamie George are two obvious personnel that come to mind. But otherwise, Jones needs a XV that have time to gel and work on their combinations. The injuries to Lawes and George will give a chance for Jones to look at players such as David Ribbans and George McGuigan. It is healthy for the squad to bring in new or newish blood to complement the players who are likely to make it into England’s World Cup squad.

On the subject of selection, will be the decisions that Jones will make over the next four weeks on how to re-energise England’s faltering attack. Chief among them will be the Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell combination at 10/12 and also the likely inclusion of Manu Tuilagi.

If Jones’s ideal 10/12/13 mix is Smith, Farrell and Tuilagi – pick them straight away against Japan.

It is such a shame that Henry Arundell and Tommy Freeman, two of England’s brightest talents are unavailable for at least the first couple of weeks for England’s November campaign.

Improving England’s attacking efficiency

England’s attack continues to splutter and is now becoming a considerable concern for England’s hopes of going deep into the World Cup next year. The game-plans that Eddie Jones has put together over the last couple of years have rarely come to fruition. It would be a huge tonic for England rugby if England can show more in attack than what we have seen in the last couple of years. But to do that, England needs to have a game-plan that allows their runners to get into the game in the first place.

Statistics from the 2022 Six Nations were pretty ugly for England. Four of the eight tries they scored were from lineouts. England only beat 70 defenders all tournament, the worst in the competition.

Another damning statistic for Eddie Jones was the points per visit to the opposition. Italy were just below England with 1.08 points per entry. This is despite England registering 966 more running meters than the Grand Slam Champions France. It shows how misaligned England’s attacking strategy is currently at. Joe Marchant, along with Marcus Smith were two players who were identified as being England’s best attackers. Marchant is not in the England squad despite starring for Harlequins on a weekly basis.

England rugby squad needs to work on game plan and attacking efficiency

What would be a decent return for England during this autumn nation series? Wins over Argentina, Japan, and either New Zealand or South Africa? Most England fans would likely take an improvement on attack and a game plan that allows for a more effective attack.

Over the next four weeks, England needs to work on their game plan and attacking efficiency. To improve these two key areas Eddie Jones must try and stick to a preferred starting XV. With so few games left before the World Cup, having a team, barring injury, that is close to his ideal starting XV must also surely be a priority.

England brought back their set-piece superiority and good old-fashioned test match rugby during their summer tour to Australia. Over the next four weeks, we will hopefully see a more dynamic England.


2022 England rugby fixtures list:

  • v Argentina – Sunday, November 6, 2:15pm. Twickenham Stadium, London

  • v Japan – Saturday, Nov 12, 3:15pm. Twickenham

  • v New Zealand – Sat, Nov 19, 5:30pm. Twickenham

  • v South Africa –  Sat, Nov 26, 5:30pm. Twickenham


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