Sports Letters: England need a fly boy

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Sir: I was interested in your article last Wednesday (Five Nations Focus) and, as a Scot, suggest why England, despite their immensely talented backs are not scoring tries. What England need is to change their fly- half. That may sound harsh after Rob Andrew scored 18 points in Paris, but surely England, with their vast rugby resources, can find a fly- half who can do more than kick and tackle? The sad thing is that they have, in my humble opinion, the best fly-half in Europe in Stuart Barnes.

A good fly-half should keep the opposition, especially the opposition back row guessing. That is exactly what the great Welsh fly-halves did to such good effect. As one prominent Scottish back row forward said of Andrew: 'There is no point in even trying to tackle him, because you know he will have got rid of the ball before you can get anywhere near him. You don't have to worry about leaving a gap either as you know, even if you do, he won't go for it; you can concentrate elsewhere.'

When England last scored a try, against Scotland last year, Barnes was having one of his rare games in an England shirt. Rob Andrew's strength is that he is utterly reliable, solid in defence and kicks supremely well. He also knows his strengths and weaknesses and plays his game accordingly. The trouble is he is the wrong player for this England team.

Yours faithfully

NIGEL McNEILL

Dorking, Surrey

7 March

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