Leicester coach critical of England team selection

 

England's interim head coach Stuart Lancaster has come under fierce criticism from Leicester over his handling of out-of-favour half-backs Toby Flood and Ben Youngs.

Leicester's head coach Matt O'Connor claimed Lancaster and his England management team are not interested in creative players and just send the team out "trying not to lose".

Flood has been released to play for Leicester this weekend after dropping behind Owen Farrell and Charlie Hodgson in England's fly-half pecking order.

Youngs is expected to be involved in England's RBS 6 Nations game against France but he has lost the starting scrum-half jersey to Lee Dickson.

O'Connor is furious, claiming England's handling of both players has led to an unnecessary "self-doubt" which is affecting their form.

"We consistently score the most tries in the Premiership because of those two blokes," O'Connor told the Leicester Mercury.

"They just provide the rest of the team with so many opportunities.

"But the powers-that-be at England have not fully appreciated what they can offer a team.

"England don't want creative players, they are just trying not to lose.

"If that is what they are trying to achieve, you can understand why Flood and Youngs are not the best blokes for the job.

"But if you are going out there to win a game, it has got to be Flood and Youngs at nine and 10.

"There is nothing I have seen so far (in the Six Nations) that indicates England want to go out and beat teams.

"Under the current structure, I cannot see that changing."

O'Connor's criticism of England's attacking game stretches beyond their treatment of Flood and Young, with the Australian claiming Lancaster and assistant coach Andy Farrell are wasting their best attacking threats.

"Chris Ashton, Ben Foden, Toby Flood and Ben Youngs have won England every big game they have won in the last 18 months against the good sides," O'Connor said.

"At the moment, you wouldn't know that Ashton and Foden are on the field!

"Those guys, along with Manu Tuilagi are as good a back line as there is anywhere in the world but they never see the ball. That is an issue for the RFU to address.

"If you are talking about building a side for the World Cup in 2015, you have to go out and play."

O'Connor's comments conflict with the attacking philosophy Lancaster has said he is trying to build within the new-look England squad.

England battled to dogged wins against Scotland and Italy but showed more attacking endeavour in their 19-12 defeat to Wales at Twickenham two weekends ago.

PA

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future