Richard Wigglesworth insists England must keep a cool head after Scotland defeat

By Sports Desk February 29, 2024

England attack coach Richard Wigglesworth insists it is a time for cool heads in their aftermath of their dismal 31-20 Six Nations defeat to Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Wigglesworth is central to what England head coach Steve Borthwick promised would comprise a “thorough and honest” review of the performance as they brace for their next clash with Ireland a week on Saturday.

But speaking in York where the squad has gathered ahead of sold-out training session at the LNER Stadium on Friday night, Wigglesworth is adamant that frustration about a performance littered with “basic errors” will not be allowed to boil over.

“If it was needed, anyone who knows me will know I can be pretty straight and to the point,” said Wigglesworth, who made 33 England appearances before moving into coaching in 2019.

“But I think you have a very limited lifespan if you are going to stand and bang a TV and call things out, because there will be reasons, mine as much as any players.

“If I start shouting and having a go at them, that’s right back at me. We’ll be in this again and make sure we’re better.”

Wigglesworth reiterated the tentatively positive prognosis on half-backs Marcus Smith and Alex Mitchell as they target being available for the daunting clash against the favourites for back-to-back Grand Slams.

Smith has missed England’s last three matches with a calf injury while Mitchell started in wins over Italy and Wales but missed the Scotland defeat after picking up a knee injury in training.

“We’re going to have to see what they get through this week,” added Wigglesworth.

“We’re hopeful, but we’ve not done anything yet in terms of seeing if they could be involved in a Test match. Tomorrow (Friday) will be a big day for them. Then we’ll see how they go at the start of next week but we’re hopeful.”

In the meantime Wigglesworth will work with the squad on ironing out the issues which cost them dear against the Scots.

“We didn’t really play as us,” he added. “We didn’t play how we set out to and how we’d been building to, so that was the disappointment for everyone.

“There were signs from early on that we weren’t attacking the line. We were passing early away from the line and not challenging the defence. Then we made basic errors on the back of doing things we hadn’t done in the previous couple of weeks.

“We looked slightly tense and maybe we got more tense as things went on. It is hard to learn from errors when we are not attacking as we want to, but our mindset is that if it doesn’t go right then we will improve and take the lessons.”

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