Robinson wants ruthless England

England will put an emphasis on attack against Samoa at Twickenham on Saturday - and head coach Andy Robinson wants a "more ruthless edge" to the world champions' finishing ability. [more]

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England will put an emphasis on attack against Samoa at Twickenham on Saturday – and head coach Andy Robinson wants a "more ruthless edge" to the world champions’ finishing ability.

Robinson watched his forwards dominate possession in beating Australia and then losing narrowly to Graham Henry’s Grand Slam-chasing All Blacks earlier this month, but England managed a poor return of just three tries.

Wings Mark Cueto and Ben Cohen both touched down against the Wallabies, yet England’s solitary try during their 23-19 defeat against New Zealand came from a catch-and-drive lineout.

Robinson is looking to liven things up, hence the inclusion of Gloucester wing James Simpson-Daniel at outside centre this weekend and a first Twickenham start for prolific Wasps finisher Tom Voyce.

"We created opportunities last week, and our plan is to create the same chances. We must display a more ruthless edge in our finishing," said Robinson.

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With the pack again likely to dominate, Simpson-Daniel’s pace and defence-shredding running angles are key ingredients as England target a stylish finish to a satisfactory autumn campaign that has set them up for a major assault on Six Nations silverware later this season.

Robinson has made five changes to the side beaten by New Zealand, calling up Simpson-Daniel, Voyce, scrum-half Harry Ellis, prop Matt Stevens and debutant lock Louis Deacon, with four uncapped players on replacement duty – Lee Mears, Perry Freshwater, Peter Richards and Tom Varndell.

Jamie Noon will be absent from the England starting line-up for the first time in eight Tests, but Robinson denied the Newcastle centre had been dropped.

The England boss said: "We’ve made changes to a third of the team as part of our development, and I am very pleased with what Jamie contributed against Australia and New Zealand."

England have only met Samoa on three previous occasions, winning by double-figure margins each time, but their last meeting two years ago threatened to produce a monumental upset.

Samoa led England 16-13 at half-time during a key World Cup pool game in Melbourne, only for the eventual World Cup winners to fight back and score 22 second-half points.

"The World Cup game taught us a lesson," added Robinson.

"They scored from the very start when we kicked the ball to them, and they kept possession for long periods. If you drop off tackles, Samoa can score from anywhere.

"And we must not give away cheap penalties. We gave Dan Carter nine points from three straightforward shots at goal last weekend, so our self-control must be very good."

Assuming the form guide holds true and England enjoy a comfortable win, they will look back on a solid series of autumn displays, though there is a clear determination to convert their forward power into tries.

"There was a lot of pressure going into the Australia game, so we used a steamroller front-five and the backs had less of a major role to play," said England full-back Josh Lewsey.

"But with New Zealand, we were forced to recognise that you can’t beat them by being conservative and you have to take the shackles off and play uninhibited rugby.

"Let’s not forget New Zealand play the same style of rugby as their Super 12 sides, but there is not one English Premiership side at the moment playing expansive rugby.

"Week-in, week-out, the boys in the England squad come out to play restrictive rugby – it’s results first and foremost – but I believe fortune favours the brave.

"Wales won a Grand Slam last season, New Zealand are the best side in the world right now, and Toulouse have been the best club side in terms of how they play for the past five years."

England will have an opportunity to assess Wales at first-hand in 10 weeks’ time when they launch their Six Nations campaign, but only Samoa – and a resounding victory – matter for the time being.

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