Whether England will be afforded the chance to complete this year’s Six Nations Championship campaign or have to start afresh next year, there are several key factors at play for them to win the tournament.
England were at the top of the table when the 2020 tournament was suspended. They had played four and won three, with 87 points for and 72 against. The points difference ratio wasn’t as tight as some other countries, like Ireland’s plus five or France’s plus 13, but it suggests England have a lot to do to really get ahead of the title contenders.
Whether it is for a resumption this year or a restart next year, here are four factors England must grapple with to give themselves the best chance at the Six Nations title. Until their reckoning arrives, England will remain as one of the tournament favourites among bookies and a popular choice to place bets on. There’s a wide range of deals that bettors can pick amongst the best bonuses in the UK to boost up their earnings. We’re seeing some really good sports bonus codes around, with bet365 and Betfair among the offerings.
Bump up the try count
It is easier said than done, of course, but England would do well to increase the number of tries they have recorded so far. France and Wales have scored more tries than England recently, while Scotland and Ireland have conceded fewer. Elliot Daly and Jonny May are going to be key to this, having dotted down twice each already. They have a way to go, though, in order to catch up to France star Charles Ollivon’s four.
Share the ball more
A quick look at stats around passes made shows that Ben Young isn’t getting enough of the ball and might not be letting go of it enough. Others like Antoine Dupont and Conor Murray – and even Ali Price – have made several passes more than Young. England don’t have a single player in the list of top 10 metres made, though, so that might be behind Young’s thinking, who occasionally goes on his own rather than letting someone else do so.Embed from Getty Images
Win even more turnover
Now here are some digits that will bring smiles to the faces of England fans. Maro Itoje is right up there among the most turnovers won in the Six Nations of late. His four in 2020 is rivalled only by a few other players with the same number – and CJ Stander’s five. England also have George Kruis with three, so that’s a formidable pairing they can look to down the line, when turning defence into offence.
Dominate the lineouts
Here, Itoje features again. He has won 11 lineouts in the 2020 Six Nations thus far. Ollivon has more than double that number, while James Ryan of Ireland has collected four more than Itoje. When France or Ireland take on England, it often yields particularly entertaining tussles among the lineout jumpers, especially if the hookers are being pinpoint with their throws.
Defend, defend, defend
As much as rugby is about scoring points while attacking, teams don’t always have the ball in hand and that’s when their defensive tactics are really in the spotlight. That man Itoje is again a central figure. He has the most tackles in the Six Nations this year. England team-mate Thomas Curry is also among the top 10 of tackles made.
They have combined for 130-plus hart hits, leaving plenty of opposition forwards and backline players on the floor, battered and bruised. Plenty of these tackles, of course, have led to important turnover, which England have been able to capitalise on for the most part. They certainly need more of this going forward, en route to perhaps another Six Nations trophy.