Easter on England: ‘We lost our identity’

Date published: December 2 2015

Nick Easter has said that England lost their identity during a disastrous Rugby World Cup campaign on home soil.

The veteran number eight has described how England's style of play during the Six Nations, when the team impressed, went missing during the World Cup as England failed to back up the stronger parts of their game.

"The sticking point in the World Cup is that we lost our identity," Easter said.

"If you're always following you'll never be leading, so let's forget about the All Blacks. They're born with a rugby ball in their hands. It's their religion and they thrive on their approach.

"I was involved in the Six Nations and we were going at sides, taking them on up front. Just look at that game against Wales in Cardiff when we beat them up up-front for 60 minutes and then they cracked.

"We scored a high number of tries in the Six Nations and the way we played should have been the blueprint for the World Cup, tactically and in selection. But as we saw, it didn't go that way.

"Because we'd lost our identity, we didn't know what our best side was. You've got to know how you want to play, what is your identity as a team and then pick the best side to execute.

"You've got to know your strength and become very good at it. Make sure other areas are strong, but don't try to cover all bases.

"At the very, very top you can't be doing that because you become good at certain things but not great at them and that's not good enough to trouble top sides in the world.

"We have plenty of good players and the youth systems are working – you've seen that in England reaching two of the last three junior world cup finals, winning two of them. So let's back ourselves and take on the best."

Easter now expects the new England head coach Eddie Jones to come in and get the best out of a deep crop of English talent.

"When a well-respected coach comes in like that it gives English players a little bit of extra motivation," Easter added.

"I think he'll see the way English clubs performed in Europe last month and believe he has plenty to work with. He has a high pressure job, but it's a good job because the depth is there.

"He'll want to put width on the game, bring his strike weapons into play. There are plenty of options open to him."