Cockerill : England should play like England – Not NZ

Richard Cockerill says England should focus on playing the England way

Leicester Tigers Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill says that England should stop trying to play like New Zealand and return to the uncompromising rugby that won them the Rugby World Cup in 2003.

England were knocked out of the Rugby World Cup in the Pool stage and a five man panel are now reviewing where England went wrong.

Cockerill says that England need to get back to playing the rugby that relies on their strengths.

“I think you have to play how England play, and play to our strengths,” Cockerill told SkySports.

“I don’t want to play like New Zealand because we can’t.”

“I’ve got two Kiwi coaches that work with me, they asked me about that and I said: ‘New Zealanders are born and given a rugby ball, Englanders are born and given a football’.

“We start to learn rugby, it’s not our first love, that’s just the nature of it. Our soccer team’s better than theirs, hopefully.”

“In the Northern Hemisphere and England, we have a very attritional mindset, we are bloody minded about what we do. And personally I think we spend too much time coveting the promised land of how others do things.

Stuart Lancaster has made England’s backline look more of an attacking force but the forwards at the Rugby World cup were outplayed and struggled to win the backs enough ball. Cockerill says that England have proved that playing their way can win deliver results.

“We can compete and we’ve shown it, and we can play differently from Southern Hemisphere sides and beat them.”

“Clive Woodward’s team went away from home in 2003, beat Australia and New Zealand then won the World Cup, they didn’t play a fancy, all-court game – they did what English teams do really well and played to their strengths. And I think England can and should do that.

“The first Test in New Zealand last summer England took a mixed team and just got stuck into the All Blacks, and made them look ordinary. England probably should have won that game.

“How did they do it? With set-piece, they went hard at the breakdown and made New Zealand struggle for every bit of possession. The two weeks after that we decided to play them at their own game and got beaten.

“England should just do what they do really well, we’ve got some very good players and I don’t see why we always try to chase the holy grail of being like another side. It doesn’t make sense to me.”

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