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England's new attack coach determined to ignite Smith-Farrell fire

NEWS: Nick Evans, England’s new attack coach, believes the misfiring Marcus Smith-Owen Farrell creative axis can be ignited by providing the clarity that was missing under the previous regime.


The former New Zealand playmaker and an influential figure in Harlequins’ all-action charge to the 2021 Premiership title, will oversee the attack for the Six Nations as part of Steve Borthwick’s freshly assembled management team.

Under Australian Eddie Jones, a confused England had become increasingly impotent with the failure of Smith and Farrell to gel at the heart of an attacking malaise.

Farrell has been superb as Saracens’ flyhalf this season while Smith, who fills the same position for Quins, will make his first appearance since November against Racing 92 on Sunday following an ankle injury.

“There’s no reason why they can’t play together,” Evans said.

“But you have to be very clear about what you are trying to achieve, how you are doing this, what the detail looks like. Once everyone is clear on that then you can go through with it.

“Some of the feedback was that maybe that wasn’t there, so maybe there was a bit of a crossover. It’s just about making sure that you’re very clear on roles and responsibilities.


“Sometimes the old death by detail can be a thing. The over-complicating of things.

“As coaches, we don’t get much time with the players. We’ve got a week with them and then we’re playing Scotland in the first game, so the information needs to be really clear and direct.

“The players need to go on to the field and have a really clear understanding of how we want to play.”

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Quins lit up the Premiership in 2020-21, cutting defences to ribbons and, while they were dethroned by Leicester in June, they’re still the league’s most exciting side.

Evans, however, wants to keep expectations in check.

“I imagine there are a lot of people maybe thinking naively that the Harlequins structure will be thrown into England. I know that won’t work,” he said.

“It’s about having real alignment with the coaches around the style that we want to play and the mindset in how we want to play in all areas.

“There’s just not enough time to change everything and I don’t think everything needs changing. My focus is around bringing energy and clarity over when we have ball in hand.”

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