We do not play bor­ing rugby, says George

Eng­land hooker ig­nores Ar­gen­tine mind games Creevy be­lieves match will be just ‘like a war’

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby World Cup - By Gavin Mairs RUGBY NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT in Tokyo

Eng­land have hit back at claims by Ar­gentina that they play “bor­ing rugby”, in­sist­ing the mind games would not un­set­tle Eddie Jones’s side ahead of the crunch Pool C match in Tokyo on Satur­day.

Agustin Creevy, the Ar­gentina hooker and for­mer cap­tain who spent two sea­sons at Worces­ter War­riors, fired the open­ing salvo on Tues­day when he crit­i­cised Eng­land’s style of play and said the match was go­ing to be “like a war”.

Jamie George, the Eng­land hooker, was quick to de­fend their at­tack­ing style. Eng­land ran in 11 tries in their open­ing vic­to­ries over Tonga and the United States, and George, the Sara­cens and Li­ons hooker, dis­missed Creevy’s de­scrip­tion. “I don’t think we do play bor­ing rugby,” said George.

“I’m not overly sur­prised that he’s tried to say that, but he’s en­ti­tled to his opin­ion and hope­fully we’ll prove him wrong.”

George is used to sim­i­lar crit­i­cisms of Sara­cens. “It’s tro­phies in the bag. We are used to it. In my opin­ion, I don’t think it’s very jus­ti­fied. I’m sure he’s just try­ing to rat­tle us a bit. He’s more than wel­come to try.”

Scott Wise­man­tel, Eng­land’s at­tack coach, also ques­tioned Creevy’s anal­y­sis, say­ing: “Creevy might just have been at a bor­ing club in Eng­land.

“I don’t think that [Eng­land are bor­ing] and he ob­vi­ously hasn’t been watch­ing much of the Premier­ship, as there are some ex­cel­lent teams with so many dif­fer­ent styles.

“It is a bit like me mak­ing a judg­ment call on the Jaguares – they are very dif­fer­ent. It [Eng­land’s at­tack] is var­ied and can be very struc­tured at times, but in this tour­na­ment a third of our tries have come from un­struc­tured play.

“I don’t nec­es­sar­ily agree with Creevy. I know we have good play­ers. I know we can at­tack. I know we have mul­ti­ple threats, so maybe it is a way for other peo­ple to pi­geon­hole us.

“Ev­ery team has a fit in how peo­ple see how they fit in world rugby, and you’re not go­ing to change that, so we just get on with the job.”

So how would he en­cap­su­late Eng­land’s at­tack­ing phi­los­o­phy, since he has been in charge since the South Africa tour last year?

“The eas­i­est way to de­scribe it is that we ma­nip­u­late space,” said Wise­man­tel. “We either cre­ate space by nar­row­ing them up re­ally quickly or we ma­nip­u­late space by mov­ing them quickly, and then it’s some­where else. We’re quite di­verse in how we do it. Look at the chances we prob­a­bly let slip in the Tonga game. If we had taken those chances then ev­ery­one would say, ‘Wow, that is ex­cit­ing’.

“Against the US I thought there were some bril­liant bits of open­field rugby, so it is that bal­ance. You have to have a set-piece. Look at ev­ery team in this com­pe­ti­tion who is pro­gress­ing or go­ing OK at the mo­ment, their set-piece is solid.”

Eng­land’s de­ci­sion to start two play­mak­ers in George Ford and Owen Far­rell, a sig­nif­i­cant shift from last sea­son’s Six Na­tions when Far­rell was at 10 and Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade were paired in the mid­field, has also al­tered their at­tack­ing per­spec­tive in Ja­pan.

“It just means you’ve got mul­ti­ple threats with ball in hand, run­ning threats, a 15 [El­liot Daly] who can play the ball as well, so it’s just how you ma­nip­u­late it.

“And then once the game gets go­ing, out­side the first phase – and even within it – there’s no rule to say where ev­ery­one has to stand. We’ve mixed it up where peo­ple go, what they do, changed their roles, and that’s part of the beauty of this squad. When we train within the skill pro­gramme, we en­cour­age them to push the lim­its where they make mis­takes be­cause that’s not a bad thing.

“We can al­ways dumb it down, but we want to skill it up and that’s the big thing. The sec­ond thing is that they’re com­fort­able in mul­ti­ple roles.”


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