England style still suits Joseph


Published: Thursday 5th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Jonathan Joseph has admitted he would find it “difficult” to flourish in a Test side that favoured pragmatism over all-out attack.

England capitulated 19-9 in Dublin at the hands of Ireland’s regimented kick-chase approach, their RBS 6 Nations campaign stalling under the suffocating tactical regimen of Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton.

Bath centre Joseph hailed Stuart Lancaster’s determination to add width to England’s game, hinting the former Leeds coach will stick to his front-foot guns despite being dismantled at the Aviva Stadium.

Former London Irish flyer Joseph is adamant he will only reach his full potential in teams that crave ball-in-hand rugby.

“Ha! That’s a difficult one,” said Joseph, when asked how he would handle playing in a team that kicks the ball 44 times a match, as Ireland did to defeat England.

“I love the way we play here at England. Like Bath as well. We look to play and break down defences with our attacking shape.

“Ultimately that’s where I feel I get the most out of myself as a player. I like to have my hands on the ball, exploit space and move defenders around. That’s why I play rugby ultimately.

“That’s the most enjoyment I get out of it. Other teams like different things, they work for them: they executed it well on the day and it worked out for them.”

While Joseph certainly did not venture as far as to criticise Ireland’s regulated game plan, this is another clear hint the England camp were less than impressed with Kiwi coach Schmidt’s Dublin approach.

England boss Lancaster directly cited Ireland’s 44 kicks in open play in the post-match debrief straight after his side’s Dublin loss on March 1.

Neither Lancaster nor his players would want to be viewed as sniffily chasing a loftier or more noble attacking blueprint, but there is no doubt England do crave that elusive all-court game.

England put width on the ball in Dublin and came unstuck however, Ireland winning the Grand Slam eliminator and moving on to chase a potential clean sweep.

Joseph admitted England remain hugely frustrated by their Dublin shortcomings – but vowed Lancaster’s men will not lose confidence from a solitary setback.

England host Scotland at Twickenham on March 14, and the 23-year-old tipped Lancaster’s side to channel those frustrations into chasing a victory to revive their Six Nations title hopes.

“As a team we were bitterly disappointed,” said Joseph of England’s chastening Dublin experience.

“Definitely as a team we could have performed a lot better: we know the areas we need to improve, the boys are just excited about the Scotland challenge.

“From that game there’s a lot we can take out on an individual level and a team level.

“There’s a lot of areas we can get better and looking at the clips there are areas we could see the opportunities if we’d got things right.

“It opens your eyes as to what is out there and what you can improve on.

“There’s definitely an emotional thing (to defeat): as soon as the game’s finished and you’ve lost you want the next game to come round a lot quicker.

“You want that win, you want to put right the wrongs. It’s definitely frustrating and the boys are a bit down, but we’ve got to train hard and prepare well for Scotland.

“We’ve looked at the Ireland clips and all the things that weren’t good. We’ll work on them during the week. But we’ve got to prepare to take on Scotland now.

“I wouldn’t say our self-belief takes a knock. It’s sport. You’re going to lose at times. It’s how you react to that, it’s how you bounce back, it’s how you take on that next week and prepare for that next game.

“We’ve all lost before: we know what it’s about. We now need to build well and put in a performance against Scotland.

“Scotland are a good side and an underrated side with a massive amount of potential.

“We’ve got a great opportunity to put in a performance and a great week to prepare for it.”

Published: Thursday 5th March 2015 by The News Editor

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