Bok legend suggests England pack not up to task

Springbok legend Schalk Burger has suggested that England don’t have a pack that is up to the task at hand at the Rugby World Cup.

England have endured a dismal lead into the Rugby World Cup, while the Pumas are in the rare position of being assigned favourites for the main event of Pool D, based on a strong year under the guidance of Michael Cheika and their 30-29 victory at Twickenham in November.

England, meanwhile, have gone into freefall following a run of five defeats in six Tests that no longer makes qualification for the knockout phase appear to be the formality it once was.

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One area of England’s game that has come in for criticism has been Borthwick’s forward pack, with some pundits suggesting it lacks the two traditional components of English packs of years gone by – heft and physicality.

Burger’s comments suggest he subscribes to that school of thought. The former Saracens loose forward believes the lack of a scrum platform is one of the root causes of the issues for this England side.

“I think if you have a really good pack against this current Argentina side you can sort of put them in a box and make them play in an uncomfortable area for them, you can go set-piece to set-piece,” said Schalk Burger on The Boks Office Rugby World Cup podcast.

“Unfortunately England just don’t have that pack so they have almost got to play around their own scrum.

“Their line-out is decent, their maul is okay. [Kyle] Sinckler’s injured but they are forced to play rugby and unfortunately, at the moment this side looks too restricted.

“For me a lot goes around their team selection now with Faz [Owen Farrell] and [Billy] Vunipola out.”

Co-anchor and former teammate Jean de Villiers agreed, offering a bleak outlook on England’s current malaise.  “England is just in disarray with everything – injuries, prep.”

additional reporting PA

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