Guscott: League coaches stifling attack
November 19, 2013
Joel Tomkins struggled to make an impact at outside centre for England over the course of the autumn series © Getty Images
British & Irish Lions legend Jeremy Guscott believes the number of rugby league coaches in the game is hindering England's attacking game.
England won two of their three autumn Tests but lost out three tries to one against the All Blacks on Saturday. One of the key themes from England's post-mortem is the lack of penetration in their backs and the misfiring centre partnership.
For Guscott, who is no stranger to Test rugby having played 65 times for England, he believes the presence of rugby league coaches is stifling union.
"It is too autocratic, too prescriptive," Guscott told The Times. "A lot of teams want to get into a position that they can do a move, as in rugby league, where they go through three or four phases to manufacture a position from where they want to do a set move. It doesn't surprise me that rugby union is following that route with the number of rugby league coaches there are in union."
Billy Twelvetrees endured a tough match against Australia but showed promise against Argentina and New Zealand. Stuart Lancaster is likely to pick between him and Luther Burrell for who starts at inside centre for their Six Nations opener against France and Guscott is confident in Twelvetrees' ability but admits the lack of tries from the back three is an issue.
"Billy has a God-given natural physique and talent that allows him to play that hard straight game or a number 10's ability to pass the ball very well and accurately," Guscott added. "They haven't used him in that way.
"It surprises me that players like Ben Foden, Mike Brown and Chris Ashton don't have a bigger input. I don't talk to them so I don't know what is holding them back, because they have all done it for their clubs."
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