Catt places faith in midfield as Care gets opportunity

Mike Catt insists England’s backs will explode into life in today’s QBE International against Argentina – if they are given the right platform.

England's Danny Care

A 20-13 victory over Australia opened the autumn campaign but a pleasing result was marred by a disjointed performance from the threequarters.

The midfield partnership of Billy Twelvetrees and Joel Tomkins was most disappointing, but Catt hopes there will be greater scope to trouble the Pumas’ defence.

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“All of us were a little bit disappointed with the attacking performance against Australia,” said the attacking skills coach.

“But looking at the detail of the game, when you don’t get the ability to gain momentum from your set piece it doesn’t work for you. It’s about having patience and when the one or two opportunities do come our way we need to make sure we take them.

“What happens is players get frustrated by that, so it’s a learning curve for them to not allow that to happen.

“We want the set piece we need against Argentina so we can generate the type of ball guys like Billy and Joel thrive on and release the likes of Chris Ashton, Ben Foden and Mike Brown.

“We’d like it to be nice and dry so we can really move Argentina around.”

Leeds-born scrum-half Danny Care might help in providing that platform after being called up to the bench for today’s game because Ben Youngs failed a fitness test on his hip.

Care will earn his 42nd cap as a replacement for Lee Dickson, though Youngs is expected to be fit for the series finale with New Zealand next week.

Twelvetrees and Tomkins made a joint total of 14 metres against Australia and failed to fashion a single line-break. In contrast, full-back Mike Brown made 125 metres alone.

“They both know exactly what they’re capable of doing. I’d like to think we’ve worked exceptionally well this week,” said Catt.

“There were very few opportunities against Australia. They’ve only had two weeks together as a partnership, eight training sessions.”

Another player under pressure is wing Chris Ashton, who only retained his place in the starting XV following injuries to Christian Wade and Marland Yarde.

Ashton was guilty of a glaring defensive error in the build-up to Australia’s only try last Saturday.

“Chris needs to perform like everybody else. (Head coach) Stuart Lancaster alluded to his defensive frailties,” added Catt.

“He needs to make his tackles and do what he’s good at. Hopefully the game will open up enough for him to be really able to express himself. It’s another good opportunity for him so he needs to make sure he gets it right, like everybody else.”

On Argentina, Catt said: “Some of the stuff they played in the Rugby Championship showed a real off loading focus to their game with high intensity.”