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Warburton: “You cannot run yourself out of trouble for 80 minutes”

Warburton: “You cannot run yourself out of trouble for 80 minutes”

Warburton: “You cannot run yourself out of trouble for 80 minutes”

Former Wales captain Sam Warburton explained just how pivotal England’s kick-heavy game plan can be, after accusations that Eddie Jones’ side relied too heavily on putting boot to ball in their victory over Ireland.

The reigning Guinness Six Nations champions kicked in open play more than 30 times in the 80 minutes against the Lelos on Saturday afternoon, with Ben Youngs alone putting his laces through the ball 10 times in the 18-7 victory.

The Red Rose finished the game with just 39% possession, with Ireland gaining almost double the amount of metres forward, but were met by the brick wall that is the England defence again and again.

And Warburton believes the game plan worked perfectly against Andy Farrell’s side, as they made the most of their opportunities with ball in hand, while adding constant pressure at the breakdown when defending.

“People say to me regularly: ‘Why do we kick the ball all the time?’” Warburton said.

“And straight away I think you haven’t played international rugby because you cannot run yourself out of trouble for 80 minutes.

“You’ll run yourself down a blind alley and you’ll be in trouble, you have to kick because kicking onto an opposition team you can gain 50 or 60 metres of territory.

“You’re putting the ball in their court, and if you’ve got a defence as good as England you put a massive amount of pressure on with your defence and it can often cause a knock on.

“That means because of that 50 yard kick and that good kick chase you’ve got the ball back 60 yards later, or you could run the ball out from your try line 20 phases and try and progress there.

“Kicking with a good kick chase is more efficient, so that’s why.”

The game plan worked perfectly for England in their Round 2 match, as they recorded back to back victories in the Autumn Nations Cup after a stoic defensive performance.

Jonny May was the star of the show at Twickenham, with the sensational winger scoring two eye-catching tries to give the hosts the lead in the first-half, which they held on to resolutely until the end.

The first came from the ball taking the air, as Owen Farrell lofted the ball out to the right hand side, and May out jumped Hugo Keenan for the ball before touching down in the corner.

The second has already been touted as one of the best tries seen at Rugby HQ, as the Gloucester man picked the ball up on the left hand side, before breaking free of the defence.

A kick over the defence followed, before May clipped the loose ball forward once again to collect it under the sticks to record his 31st try in an England shirt.

With a weapon like the boot of Farrell and Youngs in their arsenal, Jones has a tailor-made game plan which has come up trumps recently, and will be put to the test again next weekend as they travel to Llanelli to face Wales in Round 3.

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