England coaches divided

Date published: September 23 2015

Ahead of Stuart Lancaster's biggest game in charge of England there are suggestions that not all of his coaching staff are seeing eye-to-eye on selection.

England looked to have reverted to stereotype this weekend by selecting their battering ram trio of Owen Farrell, Sam Burgess and Brad Barritt to face Wales at Twickenham on Saturday.

Whilst on the face if it one may argue it’s a pragmatic selection to counter the direct Welsh game, and one enforced by the injury to Jonathan Joseph, sources close to the England camps have suggested that a strong difference of opinion between defence coach Andy Farrell and skills coach Mike Catt is emerging. 

Mike Catt, the architect of England’s free flowing performance against France earlier this year, is known to be a fan of the talents of George Ford and we believe Catt’s thinking is his x-factor changes games.

Andy Farrell, a man with his roots firmly in rugby league, is said to consider that England’s recent decline in their defensive statistics is a direct result of playing a lightweight fly-half together with a less powerful centre (Joseph).

The differences of opinion are rumoured to be very strong, with a degree of intransigence from both coaches in terms of their thinking.

Whatever the selection the truth is, England need unity in times of the pressure.

It is a negative inditement of their 43 games together under Lancaster that they have not yet found harmony in coaching ethos and certainty in selection.

This weekend is make or break for that midfield combination and it will be subsequently interesting to see if England go with the gospel of Catt or the book of Farrell.