With just 12 Tests before the England Rugby squad take on the finest teams in the world at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Neil Back MBE believes that England have a genuine shot at the title, but only if they transform themselves from a good side to a world class side in the meantime.
Winning the 2003 World Cup as open side flanker for England, Back is certain that England will need to nail their selection colours to the mast this autumn, allowing the side to gel. Part of this process should include selecting a linking No. 7 to provide continuity, allowing the side to realise the aspirations of the current management.
Neil stresses what England need to do before next autumn:
“When you are a learner driver you think about everything, and then later it becomes automatic behaviour. This England team is still learning to drive, but good combinations give you that automatic element – and that helps you to go from good to great.”
He continues; “This autumn, with 12 games to go, we must play all our leading players together. By 2003 our communication had changed from verbal to visual. We became instinctive in our behaviour – we could second-read each other. Compared to that this team is not established. However, they are at a point where they can pick on form this autumn and then go with the combinations from then on.”
However Back also does not hold back on the praise for the national squad’s achievements recently; “Lancaster has got 95 per cent of it right. He has developed an England side with a solid set piece and defence, and last season we saw an improved attacking philosophy. But it is the next five per cent, which is the difference between a good and a great team, that is the hardest gain to make.”
In Neil Back’s view once the hard selection calls have been made it’s all about consistency and continuity – and he has expert credentials in both.
To hear his views yourself by booking him as an after dinner speaker with the Champions Speakers agency, simply visit Champions’ after dinner speaker website or call the team on +44 1509 85 29 27 today.