AND have not progressed under the guidance of their interim head coach Stuart Lancaster and remain negative and predictable, according to his Leicester counterpart Matt O’Connor.
Since taking over from Martin Johnson following last October’s World Cup, Lancaster has overseen turgid victories away from home against Scotland and Italy.
Lancaster tasted his first defeat against Wales at Twickenham a fortnight ago that means remote hopes of a successful Six Nations defence now hinge on Sunday’s clash with France in Paris.
England have managed just two tries – both scored by Charlie Hodgson as a result of charge-downs – in their three games so far and O’Connor believes the lack of attacking threat is a result of Lancaster’s handling of Leicester’s out-of-favour half-backs Toby Flood and Ben Youngs.
“We consistently score the most tries in the Premiership because of those two blokes,” said O’Connor in reference to scrum-half Youngs and No10 Flood, who were England’s first choice half-back pairing throughout last year’s Six Nations campaign.
“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.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Lancaster has released three players – Joe Launchbury, Charlie Sharples and Jordan Turner-Hall – from his squad ahead of Sunday’s crunch match in Paris.
France, who have two wins and a draw under their belts so far, named their team yesterday and have selected Stade Francais scrum-half Julien Dupuy and Toulouse fly-half Lionel Beauxis ahead of the benched duo Morgan Parra and Francois Trinh-Duc.
Prop David Attoub is once again the unlucky player to drop out of the initial 23-man squad named ahead of the clash at Stade de France.