Having watched the Ireland v Wales game and the way the home team threw the ball around from the outset and manoeuvred Wales all over the park, I thought the skill levels on display would be duplicated in the following Scotland v England match - not a bit of it.
Greenwood’s article in the Torygraph about his visit to the England training centre suggested the team had pace, creativity and (perhaps?) would have a different game-plan with Smith at #10.
Unfortunately, it was evident from early doors that England’s tactics were, as usual, to kick for territory (I assume), often deep in to Scotland’s 22, far ahead of any chasing players i.e. it was evident why Youngs was still in the side. Echoes of 2020, and we know how that turned out. England even started to kick in behind Scotland’s backs when attacking, eschewing any reliance on handling - why? - it gifted the ball away!
OK, there were new faces in the team but not >10. It became a trundle-up fest, with slow-ish ball. Someone needs to get Youngs to pass ‘from the floor’ not lift, then swing shoulders, this giving the oppo a yard or so start. Better still, get another SH in, who offers a proper running threat around the ruck & set-pieces, has a faster service, such that England can work plays off-10, as Ireland do.
In a game where the forward packs were even/England shaded things perhaps, the difference should/could have been at #10 and outside, yet there was little confidence to move the ball. And then we get to subbing Smith at ~60 mins in and bring on club teammate Dombrandt - what??!!!, leaving a plodding Youngs to play with Ford.
So very disappointing but all so very Jones IMV in appearing to have a mixed-up game-plan.
Something needs to change. As for Cowan-Dickie, words fail me.