Same again for Johnson’s men in Rome

AT 20-3 up and with a man advantage, England should really have put Wales to the sword at Twickenham last Saturday and racked up a 40-point score. It was a little bit of naivety on their side, but that comes with experience and didn’t hinder what was, otherwise, a very impressive win.

This week against Italy it’s much the same gameplan. They need to respect the Italians enough when they can start chucking the ball around but, similarly, do not want to get involved in a war against what is a very tough Italian front row, strong in the tackle and dangerous from the set-piece. My captain at Saracens, Steve Borthwick, was crucial for England in disrupting the Welsh line-out last week, and will be a key man for England again at the Stadio Flaminio on Sunday.

The game of the weekend though sees France lock horns with Ireland in what is a potential Six Nations decider.

Ireland’s Declan Kidney is probably the best coach in international rugby right now. He consistently gets the best out of players and, at the same time, has made his side extremely difficult to beat. I can see that continuing in Paris tomorrow.

The Welsh will expect to bounce back from last week’s defeat by England against a
Scotland side who are obviously intending to kick the ball given their inclusion of Dan Parks. That could be an interesting tussle.

At the same time, we at Saracens have a tough Premiership clash against a Worcester side who destroyed London Irish last week. It certainly promises to be a stern test for us.