Carling plans a surprise for Scots

Rugby Union

STEVE BALE

England - now officially styled "part-time employees of the Rugby Football Union" - are frequently, pejoratively accused of being predictable, an assessment they even appear to agree with, since they went into an unwonted Wednesday private session yesterday with the express intention of working out some surprises for the Scots.

Scotland have a Grand Slam to aim for at Murrayfield on Saturday whereas England have only a Triple Crown, "only" being an operative word since the crown has to Englishmen been a poor alternative to the slam in recent years. Even the Grand Slam itself, you might say, has become too predictable after winning three in five years.

And yet, as was pointed out to Will Carling yesterday, English victory over Scotland has become almost as perennial as his captaincy. Carling has faced the auld enemy nine times and lost but once. That 1990 calamity at Murrayfield altered the way England played but it is, he now insists, forgotten, if only because most of his present team were doing O-levels at the time.

"I can't remember when we played Scotland and were such underdogs," Carling said yesterday. "We are playing against a side that is obviously playing to its potential. They have 15 who all go hunting after the ball and are very, very confident, quite rightly. That's the key: the confidence to play a style of rugby that's been successful for them."

England's problem, he might have added, has been precisely the opposite: lack of confidence to play any recognisable style, or at least anything remotely resembling the liberated rugby of which he and more especially Jack Rowell, the manager, have habitually talked.

Now it has come down to pragmatism, which is a change of tune from before the France match in January. But then once Dean Richards had been recalled at No 8 England's rugby was bound to become more andante, less allegro. "The only duty is to win," Carling said. "The best way to win for England is to attack ball in hand. When we are playing well people will say it's entertaining."

Carling is due to give his press conference today but was brought in yesterday with Rowell, doubtless to curb anything unguarded such as the apparently embarrassing admission before playing Wales a month ago that the captain was no longer consulted on selection.

Also yesterday, the RFU helpfully disclosed details of its part-time employees' contracts - which was more interesting for taking place than for anything these deliberately banal documents contain. Those concerned must do that which is necessary to "acknowledge the special nature of the appointment of an England player and the unique physical demands of international rugby".

To this end they must adopt a suitable diet and training regime and maintain a tidy appearance, avoid other professional sports (rugby league, perhaps), not indulge in anything resembling Brian Moore-style slagging-off of the opposition (or referee), and even - heaven forfend - talk to the press. For this they will earn a basic pounds 24,000 each, plus pounds 2,000 per appearance, making pounds 36,000 for those part-timers who are ever-present this season.

n Referees in Wales may refuse to officiate on selected dates between now and the end of the season. Members of the Cardiff district of the Welsh Society of Referees have voted to support a call from west district to consider withdrawing their services in a dispute with the Welsh over expenses. The society will decide on Friday week whether to take some form of strike action.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz