England are definitely capable of causing problems – Ireland’s Mike Catt

By Sports Desk February 29, 2024

Mike Catt believes “dangerous” England possess the personnel to damage Ireland’s Guinness Six Nations title pursuit but suggested it may take time for Steve Borthwick to fully make his mark at Twickenham.

Andy Farrell’s reigning champions travel to south-west London on Saturday, March 9 seeking to remain on course for back-to-back Grand Slams following wins over France, Italy and Wales.

Despite finishing third at last year’s Rugby World Cup, England have failed to wholly convince since head coach Borthwick replaced Eddie Jones in December 2022 and are fighting to stay in championship contention on the back of a 30-21 Calcutta Cup loss to Scotland.

Asked if the Red Rose have improved in the post-Jones era, Ireland assistant coach Catt told a press conference: “That’s not for me to say, to be honest.

“Doing the job, especially from an attacking point of view, does take time. It’s a tough one to get (right), especially when you’re at the top end of the sport.

“The individuals that are there are definitely capable of causing teams (problems).

“They were third at the World Cup and they’re still all there, barring Owen Farrell, but everyone else is there and they’re well capable.

“It is tough at that level but they’ll keep ticking along, I’ve no doubt.

“This England side are a dangerous side, we know they’re capable of doing things.

“It’s making sure we take the next step and the next step is England at Twickenham. It’s all we’re going to focus on at the moment.”

Ireland have taken maximum points from their first three fixtures but were below their ruthless best in Dublin wins over Italy and Wales after beginning with a statement success away to France.

Catt is confident the team will be firing on all cylinders in round four after they “went through the motions” to dispatch Warren Gatland’s men 31-7.

“We’ve had a review of the Wales game and it wasn’t perfect by any means,” said Catt.

“We’ve really realised what we need to do now over the next 10 days to prepare properly for England.

“We went away from what we are really, really good at against Wales.

“It’s something that we’ve addressed and need to make sure we get right.

“We just went through the motions a little bit rather than implementing the way we wanted to play, and it was a bit disappointing in certain aspects of the game.

“But we addressed it and it’s something we have to get right for England, so we will.”

Centre Garry Ringrose took part in Thursday’s open training session at the Aviva Stadium after missing the opening three rounds of the championship with a shoulder issue.

Full-back Hugo Keenan trained separately from the team as he overcomes the knee problem which kept him out of the Wales win, while back-rower Ryan Baird (back spasm) and prop Oli Jager (knee) were not involved.

“Garry and Hugo are the main two that are coming through nicely, so we’ll see how the weekend progresses,” said Catt.

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