New-look England in for tough defence

AFTER a bit of a break, London Scottish face Nottingham on Sunday at the Richmond Athletic Ground looking for bonus points to take into the play-offs. We’re entering into the last phase of the regular season and, although it may be tempting to look ahead to the relegation play-offs, it is vital that we focus on building momentum before the end of the season. We always want to win every game, and this will be no different.

The time off last week was very beneficial for us. The squad have been playing week in, week-out since the end of August and for the next three months will be working harder than ever, so it was important they were able to rest before this important period.

We’ve also been working hard to bolster our squad over the last couple of weeks by bringing in more quality players. It is critical to have strength in depth, especially as we have been hit by our fair share of injuries, like most squads in this league. We’ve been looking at the right sort of people first and foremost – people who have the right attitude and who will fit in well with our current group of players at London Scottish.

I was very interested and enthused by the England squad selected for the Six Nations. It was clear that changes needed to be made, and it was pleasing to see that the interim coaching team had taken that on board. I am very excited by the young English talent coming through, and with players such as Owen Farrell and Ben Morgan in the squad it will be a very exciting time for England supporters.

However, there is a caveat to that. This year’s Six Nations will arguably be one of the toughest competitions in recent years. In their first match England will be facing a Scotland side that looks close to fulfilling their undoubted potential at Murrayfield, then a Welsh side who can genuinely claim to be the best northern hemisphere side at the World Cup packed full of young, world-class talent.

If the performance of the Irish sides in the Heineken Cup is anything to go by then they will also be very strong, the Italian team have also undergone changes this winter and will be an unknown quantity and the French were World Cup finalists. Retaining last season’s title with a young, inexperienced squad looks like a tough act to follow.

Simon Amor is a former World Sevens Player of the Year, and Head Coach at London Scottish.