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    Brian Moore: Enough about England's attack and showmanship – let's start with competence

    Theo Deng and his England team-mates look dejected after their misguided defeat to Scotland. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

    On Sunday, my colleague Daniel Schofield reported unrest in the England camp over a perceived imbalance in the focus on attack and defence. Claims by former England scrum-half Ben Young that there weren't enough attack repetitions in training were refuted by both England forward Elliot Daly and their attack coach Richard Wigglesworth when both spoke to the BBC last week. Regardless, the fact is that England's scoring rate of 1.8 points per 22 is the worst in the Six Nations.

    Daly went on to say that in the upcoming game at Twickenham, England are “very clear about how we want to attack” and further stated: “I think this is the clearest game we've had in the last few years.” All of this will make welcome reading for England fans who have seen their side stutter in attack, showing moments of precision and brilliance but far more inaccuracy, playing too far from the winning line and with too few runners and supporting players showing sincere game. problems installing protection.

    It was madness to watch moves like the slanting line break that Daly himself made to set up George Furbank's first try against Scotland, only to see England completely lose not only their form but also the ball in the series after a series of passes or ineffective carries in several defenders. Daley's further statement that he wants to entertain his fans is a good line, but it won't mean anything if basic competence in attack can't be achieved. Is it true, as several sources have confirmed that one England defender in the tournament only took one touch in the session, England face their toughest test yet against Ireland, who are arguably the best team in the world right now.

    (From left) England internationals George Ford, Freddie Steward, Elliot Daly, Fraser Dingwall and Danny Care during England training on Friday. The Telegraph reported that the team are concerned that their attack is being ignored in training. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA

    If you want to contrast these two attacks, you need look no further than the three-tier challenge Ireland pose for the backs. Most ball handlers have assistants who offer the player the ability to pass flat balls in or out and directly to the scoring line. Add to this a second wave of clearing support players and you have a clean and very fast ruck rate. Add to this a third wave of defenders who work hard to find themselves out of position during supporting attacks, and you have an attack that stresses every individual defender and, as a whole, threatens to continually disable the defense.< /p>< p>The likes of James Lowe and Tadhg Beirne routinely employ such varied attacking strategies and are currently a long way from creating anything similar. It is true that attack is not as easy to deal with as defense, and in terms of the latter England have done well. The problem is that in relation to the former, attacking problems are nothing new and the fact is that within the Six Nations England, for that matter, have actually regressed in this regard.

    Both Youngs and another former England defender, Jonny May, confirmed attack is not something head coach Steve Borthwick has on his agenda. I agree with Borthwick that strengthening the team's defense and making it difficult to beat them should be a top priority. However, this goes far and cannot exclude the development of attack along with defense. Not least because failure in attack will invariably result in loss of possession and further pressure on your defence. Scoreboard pressure brought about by attacking skill is as much a defensive weapon as any tackling system used on the field, as it causes opponents to panic and do uncharacteristic things.

    Steve Borthwick with his skills and coach Kevin Sinfield during training at the LNER Community Stadium in York. Borthwick faces his toughest task of the Six Nations tournament when England take on Ireland next weekend. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA

    Anyone who has followed England under Borthwick will already know that pre-match comments about how to entertain and fire up the crowd should not be taken at face value. They mean nothing unless the execution is right, and that is where England must demonstrate on Saturday that the people are right to keep the faith. As it stands, it is difficult to make the case that England have made real and lasting improvements under Borthwick. As uncomfortable as it may be for those directly involved with the England team, the evidence is simply not there.

    You have to hope that the list of very basic errors in the game that England made against Scotland was simply a misconception, but as long as England played a coherent 80 minutes of play, the noise of discontent would grow. Assault is a long-term issue that must be addressed by either party. It's harder to coach and train without the real pressure of playing time, but Daniel Schofield was right when he concluded that “the more he [Bortwick] repeats it like a mantra, the greater the risk of it becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.” .

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