Gloucester's fab four could give England some potency
I SAID last week that England would have to step up their performance from the Italy game if they expected to win in Wales.
They didn't, and the result was there for all to see at the Millennium Stadium.
It was always difficult to see England going to Wales and getting a win on such a huge occasion and with such a young and inexperienced squad, but the manner of the Welsh victory was the surprise.
Clive Woodward said during the BBC coverage at half-time that he thought England were still in it.
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That felt like wishful thinking at the time, and so it proved. The score was 9-3 but that already felt like too much for England to come back from.
The Wales victory was born at the scrum and completed with some ruthless finishing out wide.
Alex Cuthbert, a product of our very own Hartpury College, showed why he was out there and has to go down as one of the players of the Six Nations.
Compare Cuthbert and George North to the England wings, Chris Ashton and Mike Brown, and there is simply cutting edge in swathes among the Wales ranks.
This has to be the issue Stuart Lancaster addresses now. I simply don't think he has his balance right out in the backs.
Although Brown had an excellent game in terms of his all around contribution, with one superb tackle on North when he could have scored, he simply isn't a winger and doesn't have the pace to cause defences any trouble.
When England had the ball it felt like they could have played all night without scoring.
All Wales had to do was double up on Manu Tuilagi and England's only source of menace was gone.
While panicking isn't the answer – remember, this team has just gone closer to a Grand Slam than England have for years – there are some selection tweaks that Lancaster needs to be bold enough to make.
I'm not being biased when I say that many of the players coming in out wide could be from Gloucester.
There may not be room for all of them, but the likes of Jonny May, Billy Twelvetrees, Freddie Burns and Charlie Sharples could offer potency England just didn't have against Wales.
Wales had it. All Cuthbert needed was one sniff and the game was dead.