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Tigers coach slams Lancaster's negative rugby


Cockerill and O'Connor walking the walk

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Article Published: Wednesday 7 March 2012


Leicester Tigers head coach Matt O'Connor has slammed England Rugby coach Stuart Lancaster for his treatment of halfbacks Ben Youngs and Toby Flood.

Tigers scrum-half Youngs and No.10 Flood were England's first choice halfback pairing throughout last year's Six Nations campaign but have both lost their places this season through injury and loss of form.

However Leicester's former Australian international O'Connor is unhappy that the Tigers duo have been discarded by interim coach Lancaster, saying it reflected England's negative gameplan.

"We consistently score the most tries in the Premiership because of those two blokes," O'Connor told the Leicester Mercury.

"They just provide the rest of the team with so many opportunities.

"But the powers-that-be at England have not fully appreciated what they can offer a team.

"England don't want creative players, they are just trying not to lose.

"If that is what they are trying to achieve, you can understand why Flood and Youngs are not the best blokes for the job.

"But if you are going out there to win a game, it has got to be Flood and Youngs at nine and 10.

"There is nothing I have seen so far (in the Six Nations) that indicates England want to go out and beat teams.

"Under the current structure, I cannot see that changing."

O'Connor also took a swipe at England's attacking prowess, accusing Lancaster and his coaching regime of failing to bring the best out of fullback Ben Foden and wing Chris Ashton.

"Chris Ashton, Ben Foden, Toby Flood and Ben Youngs have won England every big game they have won in the last 18 months against the good sides," O'Connor said.

"At the moment, you wouldn't know that Ashton and Foden are on the field!

"Those guys, along with Manu Tuilagi are as good a back line as there is anywhere in the world but they never see the ball. That is an issue for the RFU to address.

"If you are talking about building a side for the World Cup in 2015, you have to go out and play."

England, currently third in the Six Nations table behind Wales and France, face France in Paris on Sunday and conclude their campaign at home against Ireland on March 17.

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