Sport Rugby

Friday 23 February 2018

Shaw: Young guns' naivety cost England Grand Slam

Gavin Mairs

Simon Shaw says England must pay greater respect to the opposition if they are to learn the lessons of their failure to complete the Grand Slam in Dublin and emerge as serious contenders for the World Cup.

Shaw, who has now experienced the bitter pain of falling at the last hurdle in three Grand Slam attempts, claims that a naive approach by some younger players was exposed by the intensity of Ireland's game in the 24-8 defeat at the Aviva Stadium on March 19.

The Wasps lock (37) believes that Martin Johnson's relatively inexperienced side did not fully appreciate the dangers that Ireland might pose, a symptom of their failure to raise their game after their impressive opening victory against Wales.

"I wouldn't say we peaked against Wales but certainly against Scotland and even France we just did what we needed to do to win, but we weren't getting better," he said. "In order to have beaten Ireland, we really needed to have raised our game to another level from the intensity we produced in Cardiff."

Shaw, one of five members of the current squad who were part of the World Cup-winning group in 2003, added: "I wouldn't suggest there was an air of over-confidence, but a lot of the guys have only played a few Six Nations games.

"As a competition, it is like no other in terms of one-off, extraordinary games; the history and rivalries are unlike any other sport.

"Passion plays a key part and there was clearly great motivation for Ireland to spoil our party.

"It is not about what you do in all your previous games, it is about paying respect to what the next opposition will bring to the game." (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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