Brian Smith's Analysis - England Get It Done. - Green and Gold Rugby

Brian Smith’s Analysis – England Get It Done.

Brian Smith’s Analysis – England Get It Done.

Eddie Jone’s sweet chariot rolls on in this seasons 6 Nations championship after a gritty win at Twickenham on Saturday. The men in white had to dig deep to hold off Wales and there was some controversy around a TMO call but at the end of the day this team knows how to win. They executed a simple attacking game plan and scrambled well in defence. However, Wales exposed some issues that England will have to address as they head into the next round.

Target the Rookie

In the lead up to the match Eddie Jones called out Rhys Patchell in a bid to ruffle the feathers of Wale’s 3rd string fly half. England clearly targeted Patchell with an early box kick knowing he would be defending in the back field. It was a simple and effective tactic. Anthony Watson contested the kick and Patchell could not secure the ball…the rest is history.


England’s second try started positively with a well worked lineout play that almost unpicked Shaun Edward’s blitz defence. They then went into Eddie Jone’s “rollerball” mode using one off runners to pepper the gain line and and build momentum.

Then, 24 phases later Owen Farrell attacked Wales on the blind side and Joe Launchbury laid on Jonny May’s second try with a beautiful offload.

Scramble Defence

Wales certainly created plenty of scoring chances but England scrambled like men possessed on a number of occasions. This clip is a great example of their desire to work for each other. Watch the effort of Englands’ replacement back rower Sam Underhill as he gets off the floor to scramble and shut out Scott Williams as the Welshman looked set to score.

England Issue

A number of times in this game Mike Brown struggled to cover well placed kicks to the corners. He’s been a force for England at the back for a long time but he’ll be targeted by the better teams in this competition and Eddie Jones will know that. Clive Woodward is already calling for Anthony Watson to play at fullback and at some time in the future it seems like the way to go. Playing Watson at fullback will make the back three faster and more dynamic. Imagine England with May, Nowell and Watson all on the pitch at the same time.


I love the way England are playing, it’s simple and effective. They exit with a great kicking game off 9 and when they get into the opposition half they have a well balanced attack. They have variety in their strike plays and they’re very direct with their phase play. At this point it looks like England and Ireland are the teams to beat.

  • Jason

    I think the biggest problem Wales faced was a lack of killer instinct they attempted too many penalty goals, particularly that first one (45m out IIRC). I feel like they should have approached the game more in the mindset of the AB’s (for instance), backed themselves and kicked to the corner (especially without their first choice goal kicker). Had they done that they would not have been chasing the game, too many times they had England truly on the back foot and they just let them off taking the penalty kick.

    • Patrick

      The ABs don’t pass up many lockable penalties unless they are 20+ up.

  • adastra32

    Yes, yes I know everybody bangs on about this but the referee’s inconsistent and often downright confusing application of the laws had a big negative impact on both sides’ ability to create any momentum.

  • Nutta

    I was really disappointed with the Welsh last 5-10min. That had a glut of ball and were running at tiring defenders but just kept running dumb runners in midfield. No creativity. No deception. Not even a modicum of variation. Nothing was challenging the white defenders. I get they had to look after the pill but nothing was making the white defence answer a question. So white just stood off, made their tackles and kept Wales pinned in their own 3rd. Game over. I hoped for better.

    On a different note, why Itoje isn’t continually binned for professional foul is disappointing. If he isn’t offside in lineouts he is scragging players off the ball. Gamesmanship happens all the time but what he in-particular is consistently allowed to get away with is troubling.

    • Mica

      Hey Nutta,
      I shook my head at the effort Garces was taking to get the England lineout on the line and as soon as he had them sorted. They would close the gap. It was pretty blatant – really should have just started penalising them.

  • Happyman

    Good Morning GAGR’s

    Great Piece Brian

    Eddie Jones is just illustrating yet again what a great thinker he is about the game. Each team he coaches utilises different abilities that are intrinsic to that nation. Japan was fast tempo, England is power. That was a high quality game that just shows that you don’t need thirty points for a good game.

    My beef is with the current state of the TMO and refereeing around home games. I think it is safe to say that home teams are getting an unfair advantage at the moment. To the objective observer some of the decisions made against teams at Twickenham v Aus and now wales were poor. Brisbane V Italy also poor and Eden Park V almost everyone does not add to the integrity of the game and is bordering on cheating. WR needs to address it quickly or confidence will be lost. Just as well Indians don’t bet on Rugby or real questions would be asked.

    Overall England are a very well drilled and coached team and yes coaching matters. They are developing a belief in the systems that means to beat them you will have to play for the full 80 minutes and then some. (Does that remind us of anyone)

  • mikado

    Good stuff Brian, and well spotted regarding Mike Brown’s speed. I also noticed he’d given up on Scott Williams as Underhill came haring past to save the try. Brown obviously played well overall but like you I’d like to see Watson at full back.

    • Mica

      Brown did get the Joe Launchberry MoM award though. All you need to do is catch kicks that come straight to you to win this one. ;)


Brian Smith is a rare breed who has both played and coached international rugby and doesn't mind telling it as he sees it. He's currently putting his Oxford degree to good use teaching Commerce and coaching rugby at the Scots College, Sydney.

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