Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How England Can Be No1 in the Six Nations

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How England Can Be No1 in the Six Nations

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Jones Rugby Correspondent

AUCKLAND-BORN Dan Bowden has lived in Britain for three years and the Leicester centre is offering to help solve the problem that is hindering England's bid to become the best team in the world.

Finding the right midfield combination is Stuart Lancaster's biggest challenge and you can see why Bowden is willing to change allegiance from New Zealand to a nation desperately in need of ball playing, goal and tactical kicking options.

Unfortunately for Bowden, England have identified the inside centre they want to carry them into the 2015 Rugby World Cup and there were occasional signs in the loss to New Zealand on Saturday that Gloucester's Billy Twelvetrees will be the answer to the No12 question.

Only time will tell if that is the case but there are other issues to deal with as head coach Lancaster looks towards the Six Nations.

WHO WILL BE OUTSIDE CENTRE?

With Manu Tuilagi likely to miss the championship due to a chest injury, the next in line should be Gloucester's Henry Trinder which would give the England midfield a club partnership and considerably more pace than Joel Tomkins has demonstrated. The Saracens centre is big, strong and full of fight but at Test level that is not enough and until Lancaster puts his faith in a player looking to exploit space rather than hit bodies, the team's development will be hampered.

USE MIKE BROWN TO THE FULL

The Harlequins full-back was England's outstanding back in the autumn series, showing his ability to beat the first tackler and then off-load to a support runner on numerous occasions. What will leave Quins fans perplexed is England's total failure to engineer attacking situations that allow the No15 to demonstrate these attributes in the opposition half. With Tomkins hitting bodies and going to ground too easily, there is no point Brown appearing on his outside. …

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