Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

WE'RE ON THE CASE; Parling Vows to Address Line-Out Issues Rugby Union

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

WE'RE ON THE CASE; Parling Vows to Address Line-Out Issues Rugby Union

Article excerpt

TEESSIDER Geoff Parling may not get up at 4.30am to study line-out tapes, as Steve Borthwick used to, but the issue of England's misfiring set-piece is never far from his mind.

England's line-out general spent yesterday with his family in the hope of enjoying a break from studying the detail required to put things right before Italy arrive at Twickenham this weekend.

But it was likely to have been a vain hope. Parling is in charge of a lineout that currently ranks fifth out of six in the RBS Six Nations championship and that does not rest easily with him.

With England's scrum not firing on all cylinders either, Parling is aware that Italy will attack the red rose pack ferociously on Sunday.

England have overcome their set-piece issues to remain on the Grand Slam trail with three consecutive victories.

But Parling, from Stockton, who started his rugby career with his local club, insisted England cannot continue to rely on character to see them through.

"Italy's forwards will be physical and they will get stuck in. They're good at spoiling your ball and making life difficult, so we're in for another big test," Parling said.

"Against Ireland we lost three line-outs, which was frustrating, and against France we lost a couple. It's down to detail.

"I'm not a 4.30am man but I do spend a lot of time thinking about the role, analysing and at times worrying about the detail.

"I force myself to get away from it now and again. I go home, change some nappies, spend time with my wife and family. But can anyone flick a switch? This is my job and a job I love.

"I'm not concerned. In terms of our line-out defence we don't have a problem but we want to be known as a pack who can take it to any team.

"There are little bits of detail we need to attend to if we are to be right up there.

"I would much rather have to work on little bits of detail than work on character.

"When your backs are against the wall, which they were at times against Ireland and France, character saw us through. …

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