Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It's Time for Andrew to Pick Up the Pieces

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It's Time for Andrew to Pick Up the Pieces

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

When England's beleaguered head coach Andy Robinson takes his seat at Twickenham next weekend he will expect to feel the eyes of a disillusioned nation falling upon him. But it is the eyes which will bore into his back that he will feel more acutely.

It has become the television director's favourite shot in recent weeks as the pressure on Robinson has grown with each lumbering and disjointed display from the national side. England's coach looking flustered and uncertain. Rob Andrew sat just a couple of metres behind looking angry and serious.

Wherever Robinson goes this week he will sense the eyes of Andrew, England's director of elite rugby, on him and he will wonder if those eyes belong to the man who will assume control of the national side after England's final autumn Test match against South Africa on Saturday.

The late fightback against South Africa at rugby headquarters last weekend has provided some let-up in the increasingly desperate calls for Robinson's removal.

For a team and a coach which has been derided and ridiculed in equal measure during the national side's worst-ever losing streak, the victory over the Springboks brought relief and respite. But ultimately it has done nothing to remove the question marks about Robinson's suitability for the job and his future in it.

Indeed, even if England complete back-to-back victories over South Africa next weekend, those question marks will remain because England, as things stand, are a team short on flair, short on penetration, short on imagination, short on inspiration and embarrassingly short of the quality needed to retain the World Cup in France next year.

On purely results, they are the worst team in the world in 2006 and they are a side which, tactically, has stood still in a changing rugby world and one which has gone backwards in terms of personnel. …

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