All Blacks could smash England - Stuart Barnes

Top English analyst Stuart Barnes fears for England if the November match against the All Blacks goes ahead. Photo / Getty Images
Top English analyst Stuart Barnes fears for England if the November match against the All Blacks goes ahead. Photo / Getty Images

England were tactically second rate against Ireland and would be cut to pieces by the All Blacks, according to leading northern rugby analyst Stuart Barnes.

The former England No. 10 said the All Blacks would run rampant against the narrow defensive channels employed by Eddie Jones' team if a November showdown took place.

And he said Jones was out-coached by Ireland's Joe Schmidt over the weekend, where England's run of 18 victories was halted in Dublin.

Worse still, Barnes said Ireland were not even at their best as they prevented the English from breaking the All Blacks' winning test run for a tier one nation.

"Ireland lack the firepower out wide to punish opponents of England's class with tries but if the much-touted game with New Zealand takes place in the autumn, England will be cut to pieces if they defend with the same pattern as we saw in Dublin," Barnes wrote in the Sunday Times.

"Whereas England had nothing new to offer, Ireland had flipped around their game and England were made to look tactically second best, at times almost naive.

"England were continuously caught napping in open play. When England watched the Ireland defeat by Wales they would have seen a side playing a narrow band of driving rugby, bruising to defend against but short of imagination and variety.

"England narrowed their own defensive channels and the net result was that Ireland outflanked them, sometimes with what appeared ridiculous ease. Elliot Daly was exposed as Keith Earls dashed down the touchline, in acres of room.

"Players win and lose games, Jones and Schmidt insist as much, but the players go out with some sort of plan to put into effect. Put simply, Ireland had a superior plan, and on the day the superior coach.

"Twice in this Six Nations tournament, Jones has been outsmarted - the bewilderment about what to do against the Italian tactics being the other occasion."

- NZ Herald

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