Poms shooting blanks

England attack coach Brian Ashton says he is concerned about England’s attacking impotence.

He said that while there were encouraging signs in their Test against New Zealand three weeks ago, he conceded that their attacking threat against Argentina and South Africa was minimal.

“I must admit I thought we’d made some progress before the New Zealand game,” Ashton told BBC Sport.

“That might be because the mindset was different – but certainly we haven’t progressed since then on the field.”

England scored three tries against the All Blacks, and had a legitimate Jamie Noon try disallowed, which would been the most tries the All Blacks have conceded in 2006.

Against the Pumas and Boks though, their attacking structure was near non-existent, with Paul Sackey and Ian Balshaw’s scores in the former as a result of individual brilliance rather than sound attacking play.

England face the Boks in the second Test at Twickenham on Saturday and will hope to remedy attacking deficiencies that saw them score two tries, one through sustained pressure from their forwards and the other after Andy Goode coughed up the ball close to the tryline before Mark Cueto dotted over.

Both those teams have to be credited with solid defensive efforts but the reality is that England just haven’t posed an attacking threat since the All Black Test.

“It’s going to take a bit of time to bed in,” Ashton said of the attacking structure he’d like to establish in the England side.

“I’ve been involved for three games. At Premiership level that’s a tenth of a season, and you’re not going to achieve a lot in that time.

“We have to start translating it on to the field and we have an opportunity to do that this weekend having just won a game.

“It is not a case of waving a magic wand, it is not an overnight job. International rugby is a high-pace, collision game and there has been some anxiety. But I’m convinced we will get it right, there is no doubt in my mind. I have read that England are moving away from the traditional way of playing rugby. I don’t know what the traditional way is.

“At international level you have to play a game with a lot of balance in it.”