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The change England need to leave teams 'quaking in their boots'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Legendary Ireland and Lions midfielder Brian O’Driscoll has claimed that Eddie Jones’ current England team doesn’t have opposition sides quaking in their boots and must consider bringing in Adam Radwan rather than picking the likes of Joe Marchant. The English host the Irish next Saturday at Twickenham in what is effectively a round four Guinness Six Nations title eliminator as they each seek to close the gap on leaders France.

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England struggled to see out their round three win last weekend over Wales, a 17-point advantage shaved to just four when the final whistle eventually blew in London, and the caginess of that second-half display has sparked questions about how genuinely effective their attack is in Jones’ seventh Six Nations campaign in charge.   

Last week’s late withdrawal of midfielder Manu Tuilagi from the starting lineup resulted in the promotion of replacement Elliot Daly to start and the selection of Joe Marchant on the bench. However, O’Driscoll has suggested Jones isn’t getting his best England players on the pitch as he claimed that Radwan would be a better choice as a sub to put fear into Wales rather than have Marchant as the replacement winger.  

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Le French Rugby Podcast – Episode 19
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Le French Rugby Podcast – Episode 19

O’Driscoll was talking about England during a guest appearance on the Lawrence Dallaglio Rugby Podcast. The 2003 World Cup winner posed the question to the Irishman would it be nice to pick a twelve for England who plays twelve quite regularly every week rather than have Henry Slade switch in from outside centre following the withdrawal of the hamstrung Tuilagi. 

The reply was interesting with O’Driscoll shifting the focus away from the midfield and he instead dwelt on the England bench selection of Marchant ahead of Radwan, a scorer of four tries in his two Test starts. The Newcastle winger was only a fringe part of the Six Nations squads for last month’s three games despite the absence of the injured Jonny May, Jones instead picking Marchant, Max Malins and Jack Nowell to start. 

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“Listen, lots of the time I will disagree with Eddie Jones but I must say with regard to sometimes crowbar players into particular positions I understand why with the methodology around it, it’s to do with getting as much X-factor or quality in your team irrespective of what their positions are. You have got to remember as well numbers on jerseys are largely just for first phase. 

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“Thereafter there are lots of roving roles, there is lots of ability to pop up in different positions so it is about getting your best players out there. I still am not sure they have done that. Would I be as afraid of someone like Joe Marchant as I would be of Radwan coming on? No I wouldn’t. 

“That’s not to say that he is not a very nice, efficient player, a very good club player and a reasonably good international player, but if you get the ball to someone like Adam Radwan with space he is going to cause you serious headaches.

“You want (opposition) players to be nervous on the pitch as often as possible and I just don’t know if this current English team at the moment, certainly the one that played at the weekend (against Wales), have many teams quaking in their boots. I just don’t know if they would.”

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