England coach urged make changes to squad

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LONDON – Former England captain Lewis Moody has said Stuart Lancaster must make changes for next weekend’s game against Samoa.

Former England captain Lewis Moody
Former England captain Lewis Moody

Saturday’s defeat to South Africa was a fifth in succession for Lancaster’s side – their worst run since 2006 – but the coach insisted afterwards “we will not deviate from the course we’re on”.

Moody agrees narrow defeats to the Springboks and New Zealand do not mean it is “all doom and gloom”, but now sees Australia’s visit to Twickenham in a fortnight as a must-win game.

And the 71-cap World Cup winner says Lancaster must use the Samoa game to try out the likes of fly-half George Ford from the start – and to give captain Chris Robshaw a rest.

“It’s 100% time to see George Ford,” he said. “I’ve been saying it for eight months.

“We know what Owen Farrell can deliver – he’s very consistent, a solid performer and a very aggressive tackler, but we also need to see what the back-up is, what George Ford can really deliver.

“Bring Ben Youngs in at scrum-half and give Danny Care a rest. Give George Ford the opportunity he needs and give him 80 minutes, and also give Chris Robshaw a rest – we need to know someone else can take the captaincy if Chris is injured.

“Let’s see it in this game against Samoa — it’s a game England will be confident of winning, and it’s about Stuart having more understanding of his squad. We’ve got to give players opportunities.

“I don’t think Chris would see it as a low blow — it’s a good opportunity to rest him and get him right for Australia, which is a game England do have to win.”

Lancaster has won just two matches against southern hemisphere sides during his time as England boss, and Moody believes time is running out to build confidence ahead of next year’s home World Cup.

He said: “We need to know we can beat the southern hemisphere sides, especially at Twickenham.