In the world of rugby, some dilemmas are just too good to be true. Take England’s current situation, for example. Head coach Steve Borthwick finds himself in what he calls a “problem,” but what many other nations might view as a blessing in disguise. The issue at hand? How to reintegrate Owen Farrell, the returning captain, into a squad that has been thriving in his absence.
Farrell’s suspension for a dangerous tackle sidelined him for the opening World Cup matches against Argentina and Japan. In his absence, George Ford stepped up, delivering consecutive man-of-the-match performances and excelling at fly-half. So, here lies Borthwick’s conundrum: does he stick with the red-hot Ford, or does he find a way to deploy both Ford and Farrell in the starting XV?
England’s recent performances have been nothing short of impressive. They clinically dispatched Argentina and secured a bonus-point victory over Japan. Up next is Chile, a team still finding its footing in their World Cup debut. This match presents an ideal opportunity for Borthwick to rotate his squad and reintroduce Farrell while giving some well-deserved rest to the players who’ve been putting in the hard yards.
Richard Wigglesworth, England’s attack coach, is understandably thrilled about Farrell’s return. He speaks of the captain’s ability to raise the bar and intensify the game, which is precisely what Farrell does best. When he’s on the field or in training, you can bet on a performance lift.
The dilemma that’s got journalists and rugby enthusiasts talking centers around Ford’s impressive form at fly-half. While both Ford and Farrell are versatile and can play in the center, they have a preference for steering the ship from the number 10 position. Remember that epic win over New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final four years ago? Ford was at 10, with Farrell partnering Manu Tuilagi in the center.
However, not everyone is convinced that pairing Farrell with Ford is the right move. Matt Dawson, the 2003 World Cup-winning scrum-half, points out that Farrell’s style of play may “change the dynamic” of the team. He emphasizes that Farrell has lacked the zip and dynamism that players like Ford and Marcus Smith bring to the game.
Chris Ashton, former England wing, firmly believes that Ford should retain the number 10 spot if England progresses into the knockout stages. He describes Ford’s comfort in orchestrating play from behind the forwards, a skill that has been on full display with his recent man-of-the-match performances.
If Farrell is indeed picked at 12, it raises questions about England losing the speed and agility of Joe Marchant in both attack and defense from outside center. Manu Tuilagi is likely to remain a fixture in that position.
Speaking of Marcus Smith, his introduction into the game against Japan added a fresh impetus to the England attack. Smith, typically a fly-half for Harlequins, showcased his versatility by slotting in at full-back and making an immediate impact. Borthwick rightly points out that having three players with the ability to play at 10 is a testament to England’s depth and quality.
As for Smith’s role, opinions vary. Ashton sees him as a game-changer coming off the bench, while Dawson believes he shouldn’t start but can be a valuable late-game addition to shake things up.
In the end, Borthwick faces the delightful challenge of having a wealth of options at his disposal. The naming of the starting XV against Chile will reveal his strategy. One thing’s for sure, though: England’s World Cup campaign is filled with intrigue and excitement, and the Ford vs. Farrell debate is just one chapter in this thrilling saga.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Rugby World Cup Dilemma
Q: Who is facing the dilemma of choosing between George Ford and Owen Farrell in the England rugby squad?
A: England head coach Steve Borthwick is the one facing the tough decision of whether to pick George Ford or Owen Farrell at fly-half.
Q: Why was Owen Farrell sidelined for the opening World Cup matches?
A: Owen Farrell was suspended for the opening World Cup matches due to a dangerous tackle.
Q: How has George Ford performed in Farrell’s absence?
A: George Ford has performed exceptionally well, winning consecutive man-of-the-match awards and excelling at fly-half in Farrell’s absence.
Q: What is the upcoming match for England in the World Cup?
A: England’s next match is against Chile, and they are considered huge favorites to win.
Q: How does England’s attack coach Richard Wigglesworth feel about Farrell’s return?
A: Richard Wigglesworth is delighted about Farrell’s return, emphasizing that he will raise the intensity and quality of the team.
Q: What is the debate surrounding the Ford vs. Farrell choice?
A: The debate centers around whether to play George Ford or Owen Farrell at fly-half and how this decision might affect the team’s dynamic.
Q: Who prefers to play at fly-half, George Ford or Owen Farrell?
A: Both George Ford and Owen Farrell prefer to play at fly-half.
Q: What concerns have been raised about Owen Farrell’s recent performances?
A: Some have raised concerns about Farrell’s lack of “zip” and dynamism compared to other players like Ford and Marcus Smith.
Q: What role might Marcus Smith play in the England squad?
A: Marcus Smith can play as a fly-half and has demonstrated versatility by contributing as a full-back, adding an impetus to the attack.
Q: When will Steve Borthwick announce his starting XV for the next match?
A: Steve Borthwick will announce his starting XV for the next match against Chile on Friday.