Next month will mark fifteen years since England won the Rugby World Cup in Sydney and with a year to go until Japan hosts the tournament, RugbyPass caught up with Mike Tindall at the opening of the Matt Hampson Foundation’s Get Busy Living Centre.
In the year prior to the 2003 tournament, England under Clive Woodward had become an unstoppable juggernaut winning eight out of nine matches. Leading to the start of the tournament, England only lost twice in 22 games. Conversely, England in 2018 have lost four consecutive matches under Eddie Jones and have a tough November campaign ahead of them.
Tindall told RugbyPass, “Do we have the players that can regularly beat the best teams in the world? Yes. Have they lost their way a little bit? I think they have. Unfortunately for about a year, they won without really a performance and sometimes you forget about the performance when you are winning.”
Tindall was asked if a lack of clarity on Eddie Jones’ first team line-up is a problem with a year to go until next year’s World Cup. Tindall replied, “I would say yes, right now if I was honest. You look at what Clive did, we had a solid team for pretty much four years. I don’t think that’s necessarily needed. In the modern age, you don’t often get that luxury because of injuries or because people need to be rested due to fatigue.”
Tindall continued, “I would prefer to see, for the next year, him stick with a team that you build on. The hardest thing about international rugby is trying to create your club atmosphere in there.
“You need to have people who feel confident that they can go and express themselves and they’re not always going to be looked at and dropped. A year out, you want that because you want everyone to understand exactly what they’re doing and to feel comfortable in their own place.
“Yes, you have to pick people on form but at some point you’ve got to pin your cards to a thirty and get them to be a thirty that play together and understand each other.”
When asked to nominate his preferred England midfield if all players are fit, Tindall considered the options. He said, “At the moment I think Faz (Farrell) plays his best rugby at 10 for his club and you know he can do that job for England. If Ford comes in and starts playing consistently very high then he’s got a shot. But if Danny (Cipriani) plays the standard that he can play at the moment, then he’s got a shot as well so that’s what [Eddie’s] got to figure out or that’s what he’s got to pin his hopes to and unless they’re playing out of their skin, that’s what he changes it to. If I had to pick now, I’d go Farrell, Tuilagi (12) and Daly (13).”
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