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Last Updated: Monday, 26 February 2007, 20:30 GMT
Worsley cites lack of preparation
Joe Worsley
Worsley cut a disconsolate figure after the defeat to Ireland
Joe Worsley says a lack of preparation time was partly to blame for England's record defeat to Ireland on Saturday.

The 43-13 defeat at Croke Park was a record margin of defeat to the Irish, and the most points conceded by England in 124 years of championship history.

The flanker told BBC Five Live: "It does not help that every other team has a fortnight to prepare, whereas we're left with one or two training sessions.

"It's not the only thing, we didn't play well, but it really doesn't help."

Fourteen of Brian Ashton's England 22 played for their clubs the weekend before the match against Ireland, including six of who started at Croke Park.

And Worsley added: "On the day, we really did not perform.

"But if we'd had more time together, working on drills and game plans, it would have been more ingrained into the players' minds and something we could have reverted to when it was going wrong.

BBC blogger Francis Keogh

"There are so many reasons why we lost on Saturday, but a lack of preparation and training together is one of them."

Worsley's club coach at Wasps, Shaun Edwards, concurred.

"In an ideal world, England would have two weeks' preparation and training together," he told Five Live.

"In fact, I'm sure Brian would prefer to have the squad together throughout the championship.

"But, from Wasps' point of view, only Josh Lewsey played the week before the match and that was because we were hoping to play him back into his try-scoring form.

Andy Farrell takes on the Ireland defence at Croke Park
Farrell has just three England caps

"To be honest, in the modern game, it does not make real value for money having an England player in your squad. That is why so many foreigners are coming into the Premiership."

Edwards has also leapt to the defence of centre Andy Farrell, who was widely criticised for his performance in the defeat.

Former England centres Will Carling and Jeremy Guscott have both cited Farrell's lack of pace as a problem, calling for changes to the midfield partnership against France.

But Edwards added: "Certain people have jumped on the bandwagon regarding Andy.

"But I have watched the game in minute detail now three times and I have spoken to fellow coaches who I respect and everyone throught Andy was very solid.

"Even some of the Irish players thought he was one of England's best players. I thought Andy was fine, he had a strong game.

"After just 12 games of rugby union, to be one of England's better players is an achievement."

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