Grewcock demands more from the forwards

Danny Grewcock has called for a “more efficient” contribution from the England forwards as they build towards a Croke Park clash against Ireland.

While Ireland’s Grand Slam dream was destroyed by France on Sunday, England will head to Dublin on Saturday week unbeaten following contrasting victories over Scotland and Italy.

England experienced a torrid examination at the hands of an unheralded Italian pack, and Bath lock Grewcock knows there is considerable room for improvement after a lacklustre 20-7 triumph.

“We didn’t play as well as we would have liked, and there is a bit of work for us to do. We want to improve on the performance, but winning was important,” said Grewcock.

“I was pleased with the initial lineout ball we won, although I think sometimes we made a mess of things regarding what we did with that possession afterwards.

“We weren’t as dynamic in the drive as we would have liked, but it was a good test for us. There are definitely a few areas to sit down and have a look at when we watch the video.

“It’s all very well winning set-pieces, but it is what you do after that.

“We can’t expect the ball to go out to the back-line and for them to magic something up every time, so we (forwards) have got to be far more involved and be more efficient in what we do to ensure the back-line get the ball on the front foot.

“If we improve in all areas, hopefully we will make a good game of it against the Irish. There is a sense of things to work on, but that is what we are on the training field for.”

England hooker George Chuter, meanwhile, believes Italy have the scent of a famous win in their nostrils.

“I don’t think we took a step backwards, just a step sideways. We didn’t manage the game as well as we would have liked to, probably because we weren’t allowed to.

“The Italians have a good pack and people have been talking for a while about how they could cause an upset. I think it could happen when they go up to Scotland later this month.”

England’s next challenge will come off the field, as they strive to avoid preparations for Ireland from descending into farce.

Incredibly, England could find themselves with a solitary day of full-scale training before they meet the Irish.

More than half of England’s match-day 22 involved against Italy could feature for their clubs in Guinness Premiership action next Sunday, including pivotal figures like Jonny Wilkinson, Jason Robinson, Andy Farrell and captain Phil Vickery.

Such a scenario would seriously reduce the world champions’ training options, given essential required player-recovery time.

Rob Andrew, the Rugby Football Union’s elite rugby director, is working to avoid such a situation.

“If players play next Sunday, then they won’t train Monday or Tuesday,” said Andrew.

“They will probably train Wednesday, travel Thursday, have the team-run Friday and play in Dublin on Saturday, so it’s obvious what the position is there.”

Andrew has already spoken with Premier Rugby chairman Tom Walkinshaw about the issue, although England’s top clubs are under no obligation to release their players from league action.

“We are trying to get what we hope will be the (England) starting XV released from playing next weekend,” added Andrew.

“All we can do is request. I have already spoken to Tom Walkinshaw about it, and he said he will do what he can during the course of the week.”

365 Digital

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