Rugby: ENGLAND COACHES ARE 'KILLING' MY CHARLIE SAYS SALE COACH PHILIPPE SAINT-ANDRE; SIX NATIONS INQUEST: RED ROSE SHAMBLES

The Mirror (London, England), March 14, 2006 | Go to article overview

Rugby: ENGLAND COACHES ARE 'KILLING' MY CHARLIE SAYS SALE COACH PHILIPPE SAINT-ANDRE; SIX NATIONS INQUEST: RED ROSE SHAMBLES


Byline: Alex SPINK Rugby Correspondent

CHARLIE HODGSON had his morale 'killed' in Par is on Sunday because England were so predictable they made it easy for France to get to him.

That is the damning verdict of Philippe Saint-Andre, the French legend and boss of England fly-half Hodgson at Sale.

Saint-Andre watched in horror as his star player was mercilessly targeted during England's humiliating 31-6 defeat before leaving the game injured at half-time.

"In terms of his morale Les Bleus have killed him for me and I don't know in what state I am going to find him when he returns to Sale," said the Frenchman.

"At the heart of the English XV, which crucially lacks creative players, Hodgson was the only one capable of varying the game and finding spaces, but France knew how to deprive him.

"By analysing videos of England they knew that Charlie made all the decisions and that England play the same way every time. They knew exactly what to expect. And by putting enormous pressure on their half backs France fractured the whole English edifice.

"They had two guys rushing at him. He didn't have a solution and he lost some confidence. Without Charlie England lost their orchestrator and finished by not playing."

Four years earlier France had done an almost identical job on Jonny Wilkinson, with Serge Betsen hunting him down in the way that Yannick Nyanga did Hodgson on Sunday. …

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