England urged to dump ‘big lumps’

WILL GREENWOOD yesterday questioned the balance of England’s midfield as Michael Lynagh called for Jonny Wilkinson and Toby Flood to play 10 and 12 at the World Cup.

Centre has been a problem position for England ever since World Cup-winner Greenwood retired five years ago and manager Martin Johnson appears no closer to finding the solution judging by Saturday’s profligate performance against Wales.

Greenwood feels they could pay the price in New Zealand next month if they persevere solely with “big lumps”, such as captain Mike Tindall, Shontayne Hape and new cap Manu Tuilagi.

“I don’t think you can carry three big lumps,” said the 38-year-old, speaking at Twickenham to promote the second Help for Heroes benefit match, which this year will pit the Northern Hemisphere against the Southern Hemisphere.

“The balance isn’t quite right.

“However, we’re not on Mars here. We’re round the corner from nailing it.”

Fellow World Cup winner Lynagh, who helped Australia to victory in 1991, agreed the balance of England’s midfield was wrong and called for one of their two fly-halves to play there.

“I quite like the idea of Flood and Wilkinson playing together,” he said.

“Take your pick, 10 or 12.

“They both know each other very well, they’ve got great passing games. They both kick well.”

Lynagh acknowledged it was a bit late in the day for such a radical rethink, but added: “It’s a bit late in the day to be throwing in Tuilagi.”

Greenwood declared himself “very, very bullish” about England’s World Cup hopes, despite accusing them of bottling it like USPGA runner-up Jason Dufner in Saturday’s warm-up defeat.

Greenwood, who watched England blow chance after chance to kill off their opponents at the Millennium Stadium, also tuned in for the last golf Major of the year on Sunday to see Dufner throw away what appeared certain victory in the final few holes.

It was very much a case of deja vu for former Harlequins star Greenwood, who insisted England deserved to have their wastefulness punished by Wales.

“Being a humble Englishman leaving Cardiff on Saturday night, they thoroughly deserved their victory,” he said.

“For England, I don’t think it’s a case of throwing the baby out yet with the bathwater.

“They showed some tremendously powerful passages of play, some tremendous opportunities manufactured.

“But as Jason Dufner found out in the USPGA last night, you can drive for show but it’s all about putting when it comes down to the big events, and rugby’s the same.”

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