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    Disappointment in the England team as blitz defense is more important than attack

    England have struggled to maintain fluency in attack but training remains focused on defence. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

    England misfires Attack is not a priority in training as Telegraph Sport has learned one standout defender touched the ball only once in a particular training session.

    The revelation comes after the country's top men's player Ben Youngs questioned how many attacking repetitions England players perform in training. In the 30–21 defeat to Scotland, England made 25 errors in the game and 22 turnovers. With matches to be played at home to Ireland and away to France, England have scored just six tries in the Six Nations.

    Telegraph Sport understands there is growing frustration in some parts of the camp that much more time is being spent building a hyper-aggressive side. blitz defense under Felix Jones than sharpening the offense under Richard Wigglesworth. This lack of focus stands in stark contrast to the way the Premier League's most innovative attacks operate.

    Under Sam Vesty at Northampton, each player was required to make 150 touches of a variety of balls in a training session. Similarly, at Bath, for example, defenders are expected to pass the ball at least 100 times each, and forward 50 times. Several sources have confirmed that one English defender taking part in the tournament only made one touch in the session.

    At Expected that Northampton's Alex Mitchell will have 150 touches of the ball in a session. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

    Asked whether England's poor passing and catching at Murrayfield would lead to a new emphasis on skills work, Wigglesworth said: “We do a lot of that and we don't want to be reactionary, but I need to know the reasons why, individually, and in general.” team.”

    “But the fact that so many of England's management errors occurred in dry conditions without pressure from Scotland has left Young, who retired after last year's World Cup, questioning how much emphasis is actually placed on the team's attacking play.” camp.

    “We have some amazing, gifted players who are great on the line and execute the ball,” Youngs said on the For the Love of Rugby podcast. “They are gorgeous. This makes me think that maybe they don't get enough reps during the week. The offense may not be getting as much attention this week as it should be because there is a new defensive system and it may be getting a lot of attention along with the fundamentals of the high kicking game.

    “Though they say about expanding this attack, I'm not sure they get the number of reps and amount of time spent on it to fine tune it. This is what I see. We look like a team that only goes on strike twice a week, and when they try to take it against an opponent who is trying to stop us, we basically fail.”

    One famous Premier League coach told Telegraph Sport. that England were “seeing ghosts” at Murrayfield because he believed they were used to defending against their own blitz defense in training. So England's playmakers made unforced errors, playing as if they had defenders in front of them when Scotland were actually behind them.

    The kick in the first phase that led to George Furbank's early try was cleverly designed, but when England were forced to deviate from the script, either through multi-phase play or playing without passing the ball, they quickly lost their attacking form. In contrast, two of Scotland's three tries came as a result of turnovers.

    Youngs, who also played under Borthwick at Leicester, added that attacking was not “in his [Bortwick's] plans” and that the performance against Scotland “was not an isolated incident”. Indeed, Opta statistics show England have averaged fewer than 25 points and 2.5 tries per game against first-tier opposition every year since 2019. and the second receiver, England's performance of 1.8 points per entry into the top 22 is the worst in the championship.

    Former offensive line coach Martin Gleason, under Eddie Jones, said they didn't practice hitting in the red zone. Like Youngs, forward Jonny May, who retired from international rugby after last year's World Cup, doesn't believe much has changed under Borthwick. “We weren’t really focused on attacking with Eddie,” May said. “I wouldn't expect attack to be Steve's priority either.”

    Bortwick has often stated that attack is the longest process to get right and that England still lack the cohesion of other teams . However, the more he repeats it like a mantra, the greater the risk of it becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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