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Lawrence Dallaglio thinks Nathan Hughes is on a mission


By Sportsbeat
February 22 2018

NATHAN Hughes will be a man on a mission this weekend against Scotland, with World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio predicting the Wasps No.8 will be a one man wrecking ball at Murrayfield.  The England No.8 damaged medial ligaments in his knee whilst playing for Wasps against La Rochelle back in December but is expected to play in the 125th edition of the Calcutta Cup on Saturday at Murrayfield.

England's Nathan Hughes scores his sides first try of he match during the Autumn International at Tw

Dallaglio thinks Hughes will be out to stamp his authority on the game in Edinburgh as England aim to become the first team to win Six Nations crowns in three successive years.   The former England captain is predicting an epic arm wrestle for the visitors in one of the most competitive tournaments in years but believes an in-form Hughes could help England over the winning line.

 

“When he’s playing at his very best, he’s the guy that’s going to attract defenders,” said Dallaglio, speaking on behalf of Land Rover, the longstanding partner of rugby at all levels; from grassroots to elite. Land Rover is this year celebrating its testimonial season; ten years of supporting grassroots rugby in the UK, through the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.

“He’ll look to empty the tank as much as possible and try and have a significant impact in the game.  “He must be chomping at the bit to get out to play.

“He wasn’t released back to Wasps to play at the weekend and I think that was almost in itself a statement that he’s a hugely important part of England’s game plan in Scotland.”

Away wins have been hard to come by in the Six Nations so far, this season, with Ireland’s last-gasp win in Paris a notable exception.

Defending champions England lost their final game of last year’s championship in Dublin, while Scotland struggled in their heavy opening defeat against Wales in Cardiff.  Dallaglio is wary of the difficulty of the challenge England face and believes Scotland’s home advantage should not be underestimated.

 

He said: “It has probably been one of the most evenly-contested tournaments for recent years.  “All the sides have looked threatening at points and away wins are still at a premium.   “They’re a scarcity in international rugby, so it’s going to be tough for England.  

“Scotland will have gained a lot of confidence from beating France.  “They came from behind, which shows that they have the resilience and the character needed because they were under pressure in that game to win having lost the opener against Wales.”

 

With Hughes coming in and Exeter’s Sam Simmonds ruled out through injury, England’s back row will look different to the trio that started against Italy and Wales.  Chris Robshaw will bring the consistency but Dallaglio is confident that, so long as other players step up to take the ball-carrying burden away from the returning Hughes, they will still perform well.  

Dallaglio said: “England have obviously had huge strength in their back row, but inevitably the back row is about balance. 

“England will want to share that ball-carrying ability among the likes of Mako in the front row, Launchbury in the second row and Nathan in the back row, along with the centres.

“The more threats England have in their side across their pack and in their backline, they’re going to be able to get their attacking game going and you feel that there’s a lot more to come from this England side from an attacking point of view.

“The attacking shape and structure is probably the last piece of the jigsaw and it’s something you have to work very hard on.

“It’s not easy to get that intuition and cohesion.”

As a former Wasps and England No. 8 himself, Dallaglio is best placed to comment on the impact Hughes can have.  However, one area he is unlikely to influence heavily is England’s kicking game, something Dallaglio feels Owen Farrell will dictate and manage as he did against Wales.

“International rugby is won by keeping that scoreboard ticking over,” he said.   “Owen Farrell will play a very big part in making sure England stay on message.

“England will also want to put as much pressure on Scotland at set pieces as they possibly can.  “All of them at their best are world class players and they’ve got to show that away from home.”

 

 Lawrence Dallaglio is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover is celebrating its Testimonial Season this year; ten years of supporting grassroots rugby in the UK through the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup. Follow @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal

 

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Lawrence Dallaglio thinks Nathan Hughes is on a mission
Unofficial England Rugby Union (IP Logged)
22/02/2018 11:56
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