Attwood and co happy to win ugly


Published: Sunday 30th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Dave Attwood is happy for England to be branded “the most boring team in the world” just as long as they win.

The Bath lock proved central to England’s set-piece pummelling of Australia that yielded a 26-17 victory in Saturday’s final autumn Test at Twickenham.

England salvaged some November series pride following damaging defeats to New Zealand and South Africa thanks to two Ben Morgan tries, both direct results of total scrum dominance.

Stuart Lancaster’s side continue to struggle for fluency and continuity behind the scrum, but Attwood called on England to grind to victories through 10-man rugby whenever necessary.

“People can say we’re the most boring team in the world if they want, but at the end of the day, winning is winning,” said Attwood.

“No one cares about style if you lose: no one is going to say, ‘oh, you lost by three points, but you played so excitingly’.

“People might talk about that for a day, but two months later, three months later, three years, six years later, nobody cares: people only care about results.

“We’re in the business of producing results, so we’re bitterly disappointed about the first two results, very pleased with the second two.

“So we’ll build on that momentum and carry that into the Six Nations.”

Boss Stuart Lancaster continued to claim that England will gain no psychological advantage through Saturday’s victory at next year’s World Cup.

The importance cannot be underestimated however of avoiding not just a sixth defeat in seven matches but also a seventh consecutive loss to one of the three southern hemisphere superpowers.

England will host Australia at Twickenham in a World Cup Pool A rematch next year: whatever Lancaster’s protestations, the scale of this scrummage-based victory will still resonate come that Saturday, October 3 collision.

Head coach Lancaster is no nearer to unearthing his World Cup midfield combination, despite steady tactical work from fly-half George Ford.

Billy Twelvetrees, restored after a four-Test exile, was overawed by Matt Toomua in the centre, with Brad Barritt as combative in defence and limited in attack as ever.

Attwood underscored England’s tight-five depth by excelling across the autumn in the absence of the injured Joe Launchbury.

The former Gloucester and Bristol lock admitted England scented scrum blood almost from the start against the Wallabies.

“That’s the nature of international rugby: if you can pile pressure on the opposition eventually you will get your reward,” said Attwood.

“The first couple of scrums, to be fair they came at us; and it was a pretty stern contest.

“But in the third or fourth scrum, we got the ball in, we kept it in, and they decided ‘right, let’s start defending now’.

“That’s the green light: think ‘well, you can defend all you want, we’re going to take a penalty here’.

“We’ve got some really credible threats up front; Davey Wilson and Joe Marler are in great form.

“Then there’s Dylan Hartley going well and Rob Webber when he came on, so we’ve got some great players in the front row.”

England achieved November pack potency without crocked front-line stars Alex Corbisiero, Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Launchbury, Geoff Parling and Tom Croft.

Attwood expects an exciting Six Nations campaign should England report a cleaner bill of health, but still hopes to retain his place even amid sterner competition.

“It’s been quite a long time in the wilderness for me, so to get back and have four starts in four very strong pack performances, I would like to say I was a key part of that,” he said.

“There’s massive strength in my position: it’s a bit unfortunate for me but great for England.

“Hopefully I’ve done enough to demonstrate why I should be here moving forward.”

Published: Sunday 30th November 2014 by The News Editor

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