George Ford has insisted that players must take responsibility for accelerating the development of England into a Rugby World Cup force. Steve Borthwick’s men ended a three-match losing run by defeating Wales 19-17 at Twickenham last Saturday but Ireland, the sport’s number-one ranked side, are the next assignment on the schedule of warm-up fixtures.
England have yet to fire since Borthwick replaced Eddie Jones in September but with their pivotal Pool C match against Argentina fast approaching on September 9, Ford knows time is at a premium.
“Along with being led by the coaches, it’s the players’ responsibility to grab hold of the team and pull it in the direction we want to pull it in,” the Sale fly-half said.
“Especially when we have got the ball with that amount of experience and those combinations, we see it as our responsibility to get this team going and we have got to do it quicker than we have ever done it before.
“There are two more warm-up games and then there is the first game of the World Cup so we understand there is an urgency about it, but we are going to grab it.”
Since Borthwick took charge England have managed only 14 tries in seven matches, consistently struggling to finish chances or reflect their visits to the 22 on the scoreboard. “I know the attack is the most spoken about subject at the minute. Let me reassure you we are working hard on it,” Ford said.
“We want to be more dangerous with the ball and cause more problems for the defence with the ball and score more tries, that is what we want to do. It is at the forefront of our minds and we are working really hard to do it.
“My experience is that of all departments of the game, it takes the longest to get the attack functioning. We want to speed it up, we want to get there as quickly as possible. We know there is an urgency that we need to start attacking better and causing problems and scoring tries – we understand that.
“The main thing is how we can be more potent when we have got the ball, how we can get the outside backs in space with the ball to create damage and cause chaos.”