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OPINION: Where did it go wrong for England in this year’s Six Nations?

The the recent 2021 Guinness Six Nations tournament has not been the best year for England. After being beaten by Scotland and Wales, England are unable to win the competition.

Saturday evening’s game against France saw England win a close 23-20 game, meaning that Wales are the only team that can get the grand slam, if the beat France in their final game.

If they do, Wales will draw level with England in winning 13 Grand Slams each.

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As the table stands, England are currently third, however this could all change as Ireland face Scotland on Sunday.

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England’s first game of the tournament against Scotland saw the Roses lose 11-6. England looked very disjointed and they have been throughout each game.

It feels like, despite being a team they are all playing for themselves, there doesn’t seem to be any flow or togetherness.

Furthermore, England’s real downfall this year is giving away too many penalties. On average, England have given away two penalties each game, most of which were poorly given away such as offside or coming in from the side.

England also seem to not perform very well when on the back foot. From previous Six Nations wins and reaching the final of the Rugby World Cup, it is safe to say that England are used to winning, and until now we have rarely been in a position where they have had to fight for the top spot.

It feels very much like when England are behind, they don’t put up much of a fight.

Other teams when they are behind, they defend and attack when they can and put up a battle.

When England are behind, it is almost as if they just focus on defending, they don’t try to get the ball back or put up a fight other than defending the try line.

Yes, it is important that the opposition don’t concede points, however they don’t try and attack, and as there are only 40 minutes in each half, England have been left behind.

But what does the future hold for England? Does Eddie Jones need to go? Does Owen Farrell need to step down as captain? Do England need to introduce some new players to the team?

It only takes someone to read the comments of the England Rugby Twitter post when announcing the squad that fans are not happy with the repetition of players within the team, frustrated that new and upcoming players are getting overlooked for the “usual” squad.

Names such as Jonny May, Ben Youngs and Kyle Sinckler are just a few people to repeatedly be selected for the team.

“Don’t change something if it’s not broken”, as much as I feel that many of the England players deserve their position on their team, with Kyle Sinckler and Anthony Watson both getting Man of the Match, I believe bringing in new and young players would help to boost motivation, being hungry for the win and new experience. Only nine out for the starting 28 man, 2021 Six Nations squad had less than 10 caps.

In the 2018 season, Owen Farrell captained his team for the first time against France and since then has been captain, alongside fellow fly-half George Ford.

Recently Farrell has been less than impressive with his kicking skills during the 2020 Six Nations and the excruciatingly painful tie-breaker minutes in the Autumn Internationals final.

Is it time for his to step back and if so, who would replace him?

It seems there is some controversy when it comes to Owen Farrell.

Last night’s Six Nations game against France showed that Farrell was back on form- getting 100% kicking conversion rate, however it is clear that this has come too little, too late for some fans.

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But who would replace Farrell and take up the captaincy spot? Personally, I believe the only person for the role is Itoje.

He’s a really strong player, always in the heart of the action each time and throws himself into the game.

He’s proved himself time and time again from getting various ‘Player of the Match’ and scored the “nail in the coffin” try against France last night.

“I’d probably go with Itoje or Curry for captain”

Said Sports Journalist, Katy Homewood.

” I think the issue with Farrell is his Lions ambitions and the fact he’s England captain so he sort of has to get picked. Personally, the only Saracens player I’d be picking is Itoji. He’s the only one that has to be selected.”

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It will be interesting to see what changes will occur after this Six Nations campaign.

Whether we see it within the squad or coaching team, it’s time for a change.

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