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The Richard Wigglesworth message after 'basic errors' England loss

By PA
The post-game England huddle in Scotland (Photo by Dan Mullan/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

England attack coach Richard Wigglesworth has insisted it is a time for cool heads in the aftermath of their dismal 31-20 Guinness Six Nations defeat to Scotland at Scottish Gas Murrayfield last Saturday.

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Wigglesworth is central to what England head coach Steve Borthwick promised would comprise a “thorough and honest” review of the performance as they brace for their next clash with Ireland on March 9.

Speaking in York where the squad has gathered ahead of a sold-out training session at the LNER Stadium on Friday, Wigglesworth was adamant that frustration about a performance littered with “basic errors” will not be allowed to boil over.

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“If it was needed, anyone who knows me will know I can be pretty straight and to the point,” said Wigglesworth, who made 33 England appearances before moving into coaching in 2019.

“But you have a very limited lifespan if you are going to stand and bang a TV and call things out because there will be reasons, mine as much as any players.

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“If I start shouting and having a go at them, that’s right back at me. We’ll be in this again and make sure we are better.”

Wigglesworth reiterated the tentatively positive prognosis on half-backs Marcus Smith and Alex Mitchell as they target being available for the daunting clash against the favourites for back-to-back Grand Slams.

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Smith has missed England’s last three matches with a calf injury while Mitchell started in wins over Italy and Wales but missed the Scotland defeat after picking up a knee injury in training.

“We are going to have to see what they get through this week,” added Wigglesworth. “We are hopeful, but we have not done anything yet in terms of seeing if they could be involved in a Test match.

“Tomorrow [Friday] will be a big day for them. Then we will see how they go at the start of next week but we are hopeful.”

In the meantime, Wigglesworth will work with the squad on ironing out the issues which cost them dear against the Scots.

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“We didn’t really play as us,” he added. “We didn’t play how we set out to and how we had been building to, so that was the disappointment for everyone.

“There were signs from early on that we weren’t attacking the line. We were passing early away from the line and not challenging the defence. Then we made basic errors on the back of doing things we hadn’t done in the previous couple of weeks.

“We looked slightly tense and maybe we got more tense as things went on. It is hard to learn from errors when we are not attacking as we want to, but our mindset is that if it doesn’t go right then we will improve and take the lessons.”

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