What is English DNA? Are the current English team playing to their DNA? We ask these questions and more.

Before we look at the English DNA, a huge shout out must go out to Conor Wilson for taking the time to answer our questions and give an insight from a English fan. Thanks for this Conor.

1. Game Plan/style. What is the traditional style of play for the Test team?

The traditional, clichéd style of play of the English for me is that of the 1991 World Cup. A Strong defensive stifling plan, bulldog gritty spirit for when the times get tough, the heavy reliance on a dominant set piece and like the Irish, a great kicking 10 who can nail shots at goal and kick for territory.

Gameplan usually focused around dominating the set piece to generate penalties, and disrupting the opposition lineout and set piece to either milk penalties for the 10, or pressure the opposition into mistakes for field position. Usually a lot of kicking out of hand from the 9 and 10 to the touchlines. And an emphasis on mauling in their 22. Aside from the times where we’ve had a SH influence (Clive Woodward/Eddie Jones).

Very stop-start rugby. Not much passing outside of 10 aside from a clear overlap and when it does go it goes predominantly to England’s skill/power runners. (Jeremy Guscott/ Manu Tuilagi) etc…

The majority of points do come from the boot of the 10, the opportunities of which mainly come from a dominant set piece and forcing the offence into errors with defensive line speed and disrupting their set piece. Which builds into England’s bulldog grind out a game spirit.

2. Who were the great players in the past, up until those just retired?

  • Front Row: Jason Leonard, Phil Vickery, Fran Cotton, Steve Thompson, Trevor Woodman
  • Second Row: Martin Johnson, Ben Kay, Paul Ackford
  • Back Row: Neil Back, Richard Hill, Lawrence Dallaglio
  • 10 = Rob Andrew, Jonny Wilkinson
  • Centres: Will Carling, Jeremy Guscott, Phil de Glanville, Will Greenwood, Mike Catt
  • Back 3: Ben Cohen, Jason Robinson, Rory Underwood, David Duckham

3. Is there any pattern in those players? Their positions. For example, do certain countries produce talented players in certain positions?

Props, Second Row, Blindside Flanker, 10, Outside Centre, Back 3

4. Is that country now playing a modern version of their traditional game?

Yes. Eddie Jones has made the defensive game and set-piece amongst his top priorities. With his second in command a Lineout specialist and with Paul Gustard and Jason Ryles both working together to try and create the most dominant defence in world rugby.

We have a very strong goal kicker in Owen Farrell in lieu of Jonny Wilkinson. And with George Ford, two brilliant out of hand kickers in kicking for territory.

However, Jones has added plus factors to this. Rather than ignore scrummaging and set-piece work like Lancaster did in the lead up to 2015 and focus on long amounts of running and ball in hand we fall back on our set piece. We also fall back on our kicking and defence as the core of our game. With players like Ben Youngs, George Ford able to vary the way England play dependent on the conditions, the referee and so forth.

So whilst our core is the same as it always is, like 2003, we are bringing in players who are able to run the game in a kick-chase way, or a ball in hand way. Thereby we are able to turn to multiple strategies in order to win.

5. Are key players in those old positions strong today?

Yes, and there are a lot of them. This is down to the great work Eddie Jones has been doing.

  • Props, Kyle Sinckler, Ellis Genge, Dan Coles, Mako Vunipola, Joe Marler, Harry Williams.
  • Second Row: Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje, Joe Launchbury, George Kruis, Nick Isiekwe, Charlie Ewels.
  • Blindside Flanker: Chris Robshaw, James Haskell, Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje, Mark Wilson, Tom Wood.
  • 10: George Ford, Owen Farrell, Marcus Smith, Alex Lozowski
  • Outside Centre: Manu Tuilagi, Jonathan Joseph. Henry Slade, Joe Marchant
  • Back 3: Jonny May, Mike Brown, Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson, Jack Nowell

The 1014 review how they see the Six Nations DNA

Let us know what you think? Have we missed something? Is there a blatant omission?

The 1014 Rugby

Author: The 1014 Rugby

The 1014 is servicing the needs of a passionate and respectful global rugby community by producing world-class content based on three important values – Passion, Integrity and Respect.
All content is through the pure eyes of two children starting out on their journey in life. The 10 and 14 represent the two characters on this journey and everything produced is through their outlook on life.


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