The stark Six Nations warning issued by England boss John Mitchell


New England coach John Mitchell has issued a stark warning ahead of next month’s conclusion of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations.

The English sit on top of the table with two wins from two following Saturday’s 46-10 win over Wales in Bristol and ahead of an April schedule that features fixtures with Scotland and Ireland before a title shootout with France in Bordeaux, he has warned that there is massive growth to come yet in the Red Roses.

“We try and be very, very clear in our strategy, so really it’s around improving,” he explained in the wake of what was England’s 26th successive win in the Six Nations. “I definitely asked the girls to be sharp in their game and build pressure; they did that in both halves.

England Women’s coach John Mitchell on the Red Roses squad

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England Women’s coach John Mitchell on the Red Roses squad

“We left a couple out there as well but I still think there is massive growth left in us. We look really, really good when we attack together as one team but when we choose to go individual, that compromises us so we have still got a little learning there. But we are certain our game is working and it is the right way.”

England scored eight tries against the Welsh, securing the four-try bonus point in the last play of the first half with a trademark maul try. That lineout drive tactic wasn’t something they leaned on heavily, though, as they focused on mixing up their game better.

Fixture

Womens Six Nations

England Women’s

Wales Women’s

“We are very fortunate that we can play three different types of game based on the context of the game,” reckoned Mitchell. “As you saw, we went to the edge early which got us into the game. That is what we are after.

“And there were times where we went to our power game, and times also where we also went to our kick chase which gives us energy. To be a really, really good team and for this team to really grow we have to find ways to score in different ways and you also need to make sure that we can play the game in different ways and be adaptable to that.”

Skipper Marlie Packer agreed. “For us, it’s about letting the handbrake off. Whether that is set-piece, like one shot one kill – we talk about that in training and just before that break in half time, that is what we talked about in our set-piece and we got that try.

“But also then the way our backs want to play, we want to let the handbrake off and play. Balls will go down at some points in the game because of how we are trying to play but hopefully it’s exciting rugby and we had 19,000 fans here, probably many more on TV, we want them to keep coming back. We want them to see some really good rugby.

“We put a spotlight on ourselves our positive intent. We want to play with tempo, we don’t want to get bogged down with all of that stuff. Let’s just play. We want to put an exciting brand of rugby out on the pitch and to do that we need to bring energy and just play. Not get into the breakdown fight and that kind of stuff. We really did show that.”

Not everything was perfect for England coming out of round two as Mitchell confirmed that outside centre Helena Rowland, who started last weekend against Italy but was absent against the Welsh, will miss the remainder of the championship due to a finger injury.

“We received the bad news around Helena. It’s a fracture. It will need to be screwed so it’s unfortunate for her, she is going to miss the remainder of the Six Nations.”





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