Jeremy Guscott: Owen Farrell must play flatter and Ben Morgan needs help

Ben MorganStuart Lancaster has a dilemma going into Saturday’s second Test in Johannesburg – does he take a step back in development and play Charlie Hodgson at fly-half or does he maintain his brave new world and stick with Owen Farrell?
Farrell kicks his goals and does his work in defence. But he does not make breaks and rarely carries the ball. And he stands so deep that Brad Barritt and Manu Tuilagi have little chance of getting over the gain-line at the first attempt.
Farrell needs a Will Greenwood or a Mike Catt standing outside him telling him when to kick and when to run, the way Jonny Wilkinson had. Wilkinson and Farrell are similar players although Jonny’s tackling was more potent and he learned how to boss a game.
At the moment, the England backs lack clarity and leadership. There was nothing here to scare the Boks, save Ben Foden’s last-ditch try and the short, scintillating little break made by Jonathan Joseph in his ridiculously short three minutes on the pitch.
Hodgson has the ability to get the line moving and playing Farrell outside him would replicate their Saracens line-up.
Personally, I would keep Farrell there and tell him to play flatter. Farrell could then feed Barritt and Tuilagi and let them crash into the Bok back-line and then recycle the ball for Barritt and Tuilagi to go a second time.
The other area where England need to improve quickly is in their ball-carrying forwards.
Ben Morgan made some fine runs but where were Chris Robshaw and Tom Johnson in support? Both Robshaw and Johnson did well at the breakdown and made their fair share of shuddering tackles, putting their bodies on the line, but they were not carrying.
When the Bok back-line were on manoeuvres, Pierre Spies, Willem Albert and Marcell Coetzee were attacking as a unit and, consequently, made inroads into the splendid England defence.
Morgan is going to get better and better on this tour and a referee other that Steve Walsh might well have given Jannie du Plessis a yellow card for his deliberate obstruction when he stopped Morgan’s storming run for the try-line.
A lot of people thought these Boks would smash England. But Stuart Lancaster’s men handled their directness and physicality well.
They held them up, counter-rucked and, but for a couple of silly penalties, would have been leading at half-time.
The momentum deserted them in the second half as the Springboks attacked in waves, but the defence mainly held up admirably and the England boys will be mindful of that as they go to Johannesburg.
The other thing that Lancaster must be careful of is his substitutions.
As I say, giving the potentially explosive Joseph three minutes was a joke.
So was the decision to bring on Lee Mears and Paul Doran Jones in the closing stages. All that achieved was to see the England scrum disintegrate and hand South Africa some extra points.
As forwards coach Graham Rowntree has to have a word with Lancaster and tell him to leave well enough alone.
We’re not out of this three-Test series yet. But we need clearer thinking at No.10 and men alongside Morgan.

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