England vs Italy: Stuart Lancaster demands end to habit of conceding ‘soft’ tries

Lancaster wasn't happy with the way England started the 47-17 victory over Italy

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The Independent Online

Stuart Lancaster, England’s head coach, predicted a "step up" would be needed for his team to maintain their Grand Slam bid in Ireland in two weeks’ time, while yesterday’s double try-scorer Jonathan Joseph said he had been inspired to his current hot streak of form by a rejection from Lancaster last summer.

Joseph grabbed a try in each half in the 47-17 thrashing of Italy and has three in two Tests after he scored in England’s opening Six Nations Championship win in Wales nine days ago.

He had been recalled to help solve an injury crisis in England’s midfield, having been a peripheral figure since winning his first caps in South Africa in summer 2012 and left out of the tour to New Zealand last June.


"It was a soft try we conceded first up, and it took until half-time.

"I gave them a bit of a rev up and said 'listen boys, we need to up the intensity', and I thought we did that a little bit in the second half."

Sergio Parisse scores for Italy

“Not going on the tour was a big blow for me,” Joseph explained. “It hurt but my mindset was if I put the hard work in with my club Bath, I will get to where I want to be. I feel I am in a good place but I don’t want to sit back and relax. As soon as you do, that’s when things don’t work out for you.”

Joseph did his damage from the right wing after he had been moved from his starting position in the centres in the aftermath of a concussion to Mike Brown, the full-back.

Mike Brown is knocked out after a collision with Andrea Masi

“It was a big shift and an ideal world we wouldn’t have done it,” said Lancaster, “but I’m delighted for ‘JJ’. We’ve assessed and scored the players every week of the season and as a centre he has been the top ranked.

“It was a big ask for a lot of our young players to come from the Millennium Stadium, playing Wales amid that intensity, and back it up again. They did that but we have to get out of the habit of giving a soft try away at the start of the game. We will be reminding the players of that when we get to Dublin.”