Robinson's 'new-look' England
By Ben Blackmore. Last Updated: October 6, 2005 4:25pm
Andy Robinson has promised an unpredictable new-look England team for the 2007 World Cup.
The coach was speaking after a four-day training session with his squad, and he insists that a better, younger, and more exciting England team is ready to kick into life during November's autumn internationals.
The national side has suffered a poor set of results since Robinson took over from Sir Clive Woodward, recording only four wins from their opening eight matches.
The style of play - which involved a lot of pressure through the forwards and very little expansive rugby - has been called into question, but the England coach believes a new brand of football is developing at HQ.
"We've got some really talented players, these youngsters have really come in and performed well, so there's a nice edge to the squad," boasted Robinson.
"The squad gelled superbly well and there's excitement about playing for England.
"We've been looking at how we can improve the way we play, and making it unpredictable is the key.
"We've got tremendous strength in our forward play - with our driving play, the scrum and the line-out - but we're looking at also playing with the ball in hand and attacking the spaces out wide.
"It's important to be comfortable doing that and to make sure that we have the mobility to do that."
With everybody fit, the World Cup holders can boast a formidable backline, with the possible inclusion of newcomer Mark van Gisbergen, and Robinson revealed that he is excited by what he sees from the New Zealand-born full back.
"I've been impressed with his attitude, he's performed well and it's like he's been in the squad for the past two or three years.
"It's great that we now have two, potentially three, world class goal-kickers."
The England boss also admitted that he is sure in his mind of the backbone of the team to face Australia in the first of the autumn Tests, and Andrew Sheridan for one appears to be a certain starter.
"I'm pretty sure, within two or three positions, what the side's going to be.
"Andy Sheridan has been a work in progress over three years now, and he has been one of the stand-out players of the last four days."
Robinson was buzzing after his four-day period with the players, and he is clearly an advocate of the controversial central contracts proposal.
The debate is set to rumble on for some time, but the England coach did admit that he is keen for the situation to be sorted, so that he can have the maximum time possible to mould his new team.
"The gap between the Premiership and international rugby is getting wider, and it's important that we have players who can lift their intensity," stressed Robinson.
"The key thing is the PRL and RFU are getting round the table and discussing the key points. It's a work in progress."