FORMER England centre Will Greenwood has urged Martin Johnson’s side to throw off the shackles and return to the expansive style of rugby that saw them brush Australia aside last autumn if they are to make a major impact at the World Cup.
The error-strewn performance against Argentina on Saturday could not have been further removed from the show Johnson’s men put on against the Wallabies at Twickenham last November, when Chris Ashton’s 100m dash to the try line capped a thrilling 35-18 win.
England face minnows Georgia on Sunday in their next Pool B clash and Greenwood, a World Cup winner in 2003, believes the Red Rose must make a statement of intent if they are to be seen as a genuine threat to the southern hemisphere heavyweights.
He told City A.M: “It doesn’t matter how early it is in the tournament or who the opposition are it’s time to put all the cards on the table. Look at they way Australia played against Italy scoring a couple of wonderful tries.
“Forget about not showing your hand too early. If other teams know you’re capable of great moves they’ll be preparing for it. We should be looking to batter Georgia, score loads of points and send a real message.
“England need to rediscover their intensity and play with pace as they did against Australia last year. Forget this shroud of secrecy – that should be burned.
“I’m not saying England were trying to hide anything against Argentina, but they need to get back to the way they played against the Wallabies and look for the likes of Ben Foden and Chris Ashton.”
With the World Cup taking place in New Zealand the start of the Aviva Premiership has somewhat slipped under the radar. But with so many players away on duty with their national sides, Greenwood believes it has provided a clutch of talented youngsters the opportunity to enhance their own claims for international recognition.
He said: “When you look through all the team there’s some real super quality young English talent. You look at Wade bagging a hat-trick for Wasps and George Ford at Leicester stepping up to the plate.
“There really is a depth to the English game right now and I don’t think we’ve ever had it so good. The Premiership is of such an outstanding quality right now that it can only be of benefit to the national team moving forwards.”
Will Greenwood is an ambassador for Aviva – proud title sponsors of Aviva Premiership Rugby. This season, Aviva are undertaking a project to scientifically prove which Aviva Premiership club has the most passionate fans. For more information and for the chance to prove your passion, search ‘Premiership Rugby’ on Facebook or visit avivapremiershiprugby.com/passionate