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Six Nations 2018: Jeremy Guscott on questions facing England

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Six Nations: France 22-16 England highlights
England are over-thinking it at the moment, their top players are playing well below their best and the way Eddie Jones is preparing the team is not working.As a player you have a responsibility to weigh up the rewards and risks of every decision you make, but too many of England's players are weighing them up incorrectly.England have given away 28 penalties in their last two games, Saturday's 22-16 defeat by France and the Calcutta Cup loss to Scotland at Murrayfield.
Ireland, meanwhile, have worked it out: execute and don't make any mistakes. You can't give the opposition momentum or an easy way to get the ball back. They have worked incredibly hard on that area of the game, and have a Six Nations title to show for it, but I can't see what England have worked incredibly hard on. And while England are losing, there are going to be more questions asked. The only way they stop those questions is by beating Ireland.
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'People assume the team lacks leaders'
[img]data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/{width}{hidpi}/cpsprodpb/5C9B/production/_100370732_hartleyandfarrell_getty.jpg" data-sizes="auto" alt="Dylan Hartley and Owen Farrell">
Owen Farrell (right) captained England for the first time against France having taken over from the injured Dylan HartleyWhen a side is winning, the leadership is never questioned. But it's very easy to ask the question 'where were the leaders[/img]
'England are plodding in attack'
[img]data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/{width}{hidpi}/cpsprodpb/14313/production/_100370728_getimage.png" data-sizes="auto" alt="James Haskell">
England only beat eight defenders in the 80 minutes against France on SaturdayThey're plotting their way into a position where they're comfortable to run a move but it's too slow and without any intensity. They're also not able to go through the phases accurately enough to get themselves into a good attacking position.They need to change their mentality to 'we can do anything from anywhere on the field'.Against France, England were running too far across the field. If you look where each of their runners catch they ball, they've drifted too far across the field, leaving no space for their dynamic back three to use. And what they're really lacking is explosive ball-runners to take on defenders, win the collisions and get over the gain line. Then the team can clear out the defenders and get quick ball to attack from deep.Why isn't someone like Exeter flanker Don Armand in the side[/img]
'A Lions tour is so mentally draining'
[IMG]data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/{width}{hidpi}/cpsprodpb/C163/production/_100370594_maroitoje_getty.jpg" data-sizes="auto" alt="Maro Itoje and Jack Nowell">
The British and Irish Lions drew the series with New Zealand 1-1England are not not working hard enough and they're not working with enough intensity. The reason behind that is they look tired.Of the 23-man England squad in Paris this weekend, 13 played in the British and Irish Lions series against New Zealand last summer, with George Kruis, Billy Vunipola and Jack Nowell also part of the tour.Mentally, going on a Lions tour and then coming back to a long domestic and international season makes a huge difference. The Lions is so big, I can't explain how mentally draining it is.These days the players are constantly monitored by their club and country with the most advanced sports science methods, so the coaches should be able to tell if they're drained, and they shouldn't be picking them if that's the case. No player is ever going to say they're mentally drained, but as a player you don't realise it and that's where the management have to step in.At Twickenham against Ireland in a week's time there will be more intensity from Eddie Jones' players because they're at home. We should see a more energised England side with the emotion of playing at home.
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