England must improve aimless kicking game to beat France in Autumn Nations Cup final – Clive Woodward

England must improve their lacklustre kicking game and be more proactive if they are to overcome France in the Autumn Nations Cup final at Twickenham next Sunday, former coach Clive Woodward has said.

England defeated a spirited but limited Wales 24-13 in Llanelli on Saturday in what was a messy, largely forgettable match to top Group A and book a spot in Sunday’s showpiece against Group B winners France, who thumped Italy 36-5 at the Stade de France later in the day.

“The game was a strange one. England had a glut of possession and at times it almost seemed like an embarrassment of the ball and the varying options available confused them a bit,” Woodward wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.

“There were some good attacking moments but still too much aimless kicking. Everybody says it’s the modern way but it doesn’t sit well with me. It’s not just the box kicking, it’s the kick-tennis jousts and the lack of craft and direction.

“The kicking needs to be more positive, proactive and precise, England need to use the kick pass much more, the dink behind defences and kick to turf when kicking long to embarrass and turn the defence.”

• Read more: England beat Wales at Twickenham

England head coach Eddie Jones is expecting a much-improved showing from his team in the final, which will be played in front of 2,000 fans.

“We don’t feel like we’ve played our best rugby yet,” Jones told the BBC. “It’s our last game. It’s our grand final of 2020. We want to make sure we put on a performance that lights up people’s eyes.”

Reuters

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