Mitchell taking England forward
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: John Mitchell has already made a ‘big impact’ on the England squad ahead of next year’s World Cup says lock George Kruis.
Mitchell became England’s defence coach in September after he left his head coaching job at the Bulls.
“I think we took really good steps forward,” Kruis told The Rugby Paper. “We had a fair chunk of injuries with Joe Launchbury and Mako and Billy Vunipola missing [in November] but had a very good outcome.
“We went through some unbelievable form in the first couple of years under Eddie Jones and then had a dip, but the rebuilding process has been important.
“Defensively we improved and John Mitchell made a big impact. You can tell he loves the role – loves defence – and he came in with new ideas. He tweaked a few things and across the board now there’s a really good understanding of where we’re at going into a big World Cup year.
“We went to-to-toe with the best of the Southern Hemisphere and it’s going to be a hell of a Six Nations now with teams like Ireland, Wales and Scotland in really good form. These are the competitions that count now.”
The 28-year-old Kruis put in some strong performances against the Springboks and All Blacks in November and he will be looking to cement his place in the England squad for the upcoming Six Nations tournament.
“England are blessed with second rows and the younger ones coming through are looking pretty sharp as well, but experience-wise I’ve got some good years under my belt now and I’m feeling very good after my op,” Kruis said.
“My left ankle had been giving me issues for about a year-and-a-half so I had to miss the South Africa tour to get that sorted out. They seem to have done a good job and I felt I was getting back to some top form against New Zealand and South Africa.
“Longer injuries can leave a dent, but I feel fresher and, although there are still improvements I can make, I’m lucky to have been playing in some big games for club and country and hope I can be part of England’s plans moving forward.
“Eddie’s managed to blood lots of people and we have a big squad to choose from so this is a big period for everyone going into the Six Nations.”
Source: The Rugby Paper
RugbyPass has created a next-generation rugby rating system, based on machine learning and shaped by game-winning moments. The system (RPI) is a world first for its complexity and comprehensive embrace of northern and southern hemisphere players and teams. By using in-depth data analysis, RPI determines exactly what it takes to win, in real time. Explore the RPI now!