England need to rediscover attacking prowess, says Nick Easter
Former England No8 Nick Easter wants Red Rose to rediscover their attacking prowess
England will fancy their chances of ending a five-match losing streak against Samoa this weekend, but the opportunity to rediscover their attacking prowess will be the most important thing to watch out for, according to former international Nick Easter.
Saturday’s 31-28 defeat to South Africa heaped more pressure on Stuart Lancaster’s side as a fifth straight loss – albeit all to the world’s top two sides – marked their worst run since 2006.
They’ve got to rediscover the game that they were playing in the Six Nations
Although a dominant forward pack proved their international pedigree once again, the inability of an inexperienced back-line to stamp its authority generated more questions than answers.
And Easter, who won 47 caps for the Red Rose, insists it is imperative England rediscover the sort of form that saw them narrowly miss out on a Six Nations title earlier this year.
“They have to rediscover their game, I think that is the most important thing,” said No.8 Easter.
“They have played the two top sides in the world and they’ve lost and the scoreboard has probably been kind to them in the last few weeks.
“You just need to give a sense of perspective. It is not the most experience side, especially coming up against the Springboks and All Blacks, and they will mainly be disappointed with the way they played.
“The pack has gone brilliantly, the forward pack has been outstanding and probably they’ve been the better pack in the last two weeks quite comfortably.
“And there is no need to panic because that doesn’t do anybody any good. They’ve come reasonably close and left it a little too late in the last two games but they need to show more behind the scrum.
“You can be pragmatic and say that we want to win [against Samoa] and in that case the forward driving game and the lineout, they can go from set-piece to set-piece and do that with the scrum and strength they’ve got.
“But there is more to it when you’re playing against the sides that they have done in the last two weeks. They’ve got to rediscover the game that they were playing in the Six Nations.”
Lancaster is likely to make changes to his starting XV for the visit of Samoa as he looks to give some of the less experienced members of his squad a run out at Twickenham.
But Easter believes the reintroduction of centre Luther Burrell, who has missed the last two Test matches through injury, could prove to be the most important.
“Luther Burrell will add a lot to that if he is fit because he gives them direction, draws in defenders and he has actually got some nice touches to his game as he isn’t just a north-south runner,” he added.
“Hopefully we can get the balls to the wings because the one clear chance in decent conditions we got, Jonny May scores one of the great Twickenham tries.
“[Samesa] Rokoduguni and [Anthony] Watson hardly saw any ball with the rain coming down and never got a chance to shine.
“I think Burrell, along with Danny [Care] and Mike [Brown] were probably the best players during that Six Nations when everything was going well and we saw what the England team can do with ball in hand.”
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