Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Robinson: I Am Still in Full Control

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Robinson: I Am Still in Full Control

Article excerpt

Byline: By Andrew Baldock

Andy Robinson has refuted suggestions he might have "lost the dressing room" following England's abysmal display against France in Paris.

Former England coach Dick Best raised the claim earlier this week after try-less Six Nations losses to Scotland and France left the world champions preparing for a desperate salvage job when Ireland visit Twickenham today.

Robinson though, hit back at any prospect of a link between his players and the coaching staff being broken.

"As regards such comments, the dressing room is actually a very positive area," he said.

"I am very happy with what is happening there. There is a real spark among the players and a desire to get things right against the Irish.

"I have no doubt about what we are trying to achieve, or the potential of the squad.

"We had a game plan for Paris. I used the expression we wanted to strangle the French game plan, but the truth is we failed to achieve it.

"We have worked hard this week, and we need to get the execution of our plans exactly right.

"You get judged on every single Test match you play, that is why it is such a great environment to be in. I've picked the team, and I am very confident with the team."

Such was the error-strewn speed of England's demise in suffering a 31-6 defeat at Stade de France, Robinson had little choice but to ring the changes.

World Cup-winning reputations counted for little as 2003 heroes Josh Lewsey, Mike Tindall, Matt Dawson, Steve Thompson and Danny Grewcock all went through the trap-door, while prop Julian White would have joined them had Matt Stevens' shoulder injury not meant a late recall.

Robinson has drafted the likes of Tom Voyce, Stuart Abbott, Lee Mears and Simon Shaw into his side.

But if the new-look outfit do not deliver, Robinson will be left reflecting on a two-year Six Nations record of just four victories from 10 starts since he replaced World Cup mastermind Sir Clive Woodward. …

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