>> Gus­cott: Te’o must be more ag­gres­sive

The Rugby Paper - - Front Page - JEREMY GUS­COTT

This was not a vin­tage Eng­land per­for­mance but they got the win with a huge de­fen­sive dis­play to shut the Boks out while keep­ing their dis­ci­pline not to in­fringe. High penalty counts had been the un­do­ing of Eng­land last sea­son but their com­po­sure at the death pre­vailed, although Owen Far­rell can count him­self lucky he did not throw the game away with that chal­lenge on An­dre Ester­huizen.

I was ex­cited to see this back line in ac­tion as it was a mid­field I had been wait­ing for. Whether it be Ben Te’o or Manu Tuilagi at No.12, I am a big ad­vo­cate of hav­ing a punchier, more ag­gres­sive mid­field run­ner who can get across the gain line and set up quick ball by hit­ting hard and hav­ing the for­wards blow­ing over.

But it was a shame it took so long for Eng­land to bring Te’o into the game. Eng­land didn’t get into the South African 22 un­til the 44th minute which was not the plan.

Box kick­ing took over and Eng­land couldn’t keep hold of the ball so what we were left with was watch­ing the new mid­field in de­fence. In that re­spect, cer­tainly in the first half, we saw Henry Slade com­ing up quickly to try and block the out­side chan­nel.

It meant the South African pass­ing had to be ac­cu­rate with the threat of in­ter­cep­tion, and by and large it forced the Boks back in­side where the de­fen­sive cover was. It was hard to see any dif­fer­ences in the de­fen­sive shape, it looked the same with Slade charg­ing up like Jonathan Joseph does when he is in the 13 shirt. We will see that evolve with John Mitchell tak­ing over that de­part­ment and I still think the Eng­land mid­field can help the for- wards out more in lead­ing them up quicker.

It worked rea­son­ably well but look­ing at Te’o in this game, I would like him to be more ag­gres­sive. I think if Owen Far­rell were to put the ball in front of him more he would be forced to take it at speed and will be more ag­gres­sive from the start. Some of the passes he re­ceived were hit­ting him where he was with­out forc­ing him to pick up speed and carry it into con­tact.

He’ll have a big­ger im­pres­sion on the game and leave a big­ger foot­print like he did when he was a ‘fin­isher’ com­ing on fresh. Ev­ery­one re­mem­bered his pow­er­ful runs that saw him smash peo­ple out the way. He needs to do that from the get-go and the best way is to lead him onto it.

Slade had a cou­ple of nice touches out­side him and his neat grub­ber through in the first half could have sat up nicely for Jonny May on an­other day.

But over­all I felt Eng­land lost the col­li­sions in the first half be­cause they seemed to stand and wait rather than up their de­fen­sive line speed to get in Bok faces, with Damian De Al­lende the main ben­e­fi­ciary. But the dy­namic was dif­fer­ent in the sec­ond half and Eng­land ex­ploited the ex­tra space they were af­forded. They won more quick ball and looked dan­ger­ous when it was put through the hands.

Maro Itoje’s burst should have been re­warded with some points and Eng­land will be kick­ing them­selves for not cap­i­tal­is­ing on their chances. Far­rell’s break which led to Daly’s burst could have sent May clear, but Daly stepped in­side and it would have been a mir­a­cle catch and pass from the Wasps man as the de­fender came in – the ball would prob­a­bly have hit the

More ag­gres­sion needed: Ben Te’o has to take the ball at pace for max­i­mum de­struc­tion

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