Ex-Lions boss claims England's autumn 'won them a lot of friends'
Former Lions and Scotland boss Ian McGeechan believes what England achieved over the course of their unbeaten Autumn Nations Series won them many friends and had left people looking forward to watching Eddie Jones’ team play in the 2022 Six Nations which starts with a February trip to Edinburgh.
England wrapped up their series with a dramatic win over the Springboks, leaving them with a 100 per cent record for November following other Twickenham victories over Tonga and Australia.
Reflecting on those successes, McGeechan claims there was a fresh approach to what England were looking to achieve, that they had significantly turned away from an over-reliance on data which had stymied them in the 2021 Six Nations in preference of letting players express themselves.
Writing in his latest rugby newsletter on behalf of The Telegraph, McGeechan said: “When you look back at the Six Nations, it is clear that England were being led by data. That was their mindset. It was about percentages, about numbers. But the problem with following data is it tends to measure process.
“It measures what is already there. It’s not measuring what might be possible. It doesn’t encourage experimentation. You become a slave to it rather than an innovator. With chemistry you get reactions. Data can be used to assess the impact of those reactions.
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“They can really build on this autumn, which was very encouraging and won them a lot of friends. Most people who watched England would want to do so again. There was a real spirit about them; a daring that was not there before. Even though they were outgunned by South Africa for 40 minutes at Twickenham last weekend, they stayed in the game and still had the confidence to go for it at the end. England’s approach in the last Six Nations would not have won them last weekend’s game.
“Whatever happens, this is an exciting path for England and one from which they must not deviate. The data-led era is over, it is all about the chemistry now.”
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