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Last Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006, 12:03 GMT
Robinson backs Tindall to shine
Mike Tindall runs with the ball against Scotland
France v England
Sunday 12 March
Live on BBC One at 1430 GMT
Watch the full Andy Robinson interview before the game
England coach Andy Robinson is backing Mike Tindall to silence the critics who have questioned his ability to become England's midfield orchestrator.

The centre has been singled out for blunting England's attacking options, a view Robinson does not agree with.

"Mike is always under pressure for his place as all the players are, but I think he has responded well in the big games," Robinson told BBC Sport.

"He fronts up and I'm really pleased the way he has developed this year."

Tindall will again line up at inside centre alongside Jamie Noon against France on Sunday, with Robinson giving short shrift to those calling for him to be replaced by a more creative option such as Wasps' Stuart Abbott.

"Mike has done well," Robinson insists. "He has led the defensive side of our game, which has been very good.

"There were two or three passages of play against Scotland where his distribution was excellent.

"I think we have been tested against good opposition but we've kept our shape and he has been instrumental in that."

England coach Andy Robinson
We are a whisker away from it all clicking
Andy Robinson
Despite Robinson's faith in Tindall, nagging doubts remain about England's ability to unpick a defence.

The England coach concedes that improvements are needed before next year's World Cup if they are going to score tries against the world's best defences.

"There are times when we do get through tackles that we don't see our support and we get caught in the headlights," he said.

"That is something we will improve and we will get better at.

"We are creating opportunities it's just the execution we need to look at."

Robinson feels England's problems require fine tuning on the training ground rather than a complete overhaul.

"I do feel there is more work we should be spending on running lines and there is more work we should be spending on off-loading and taking the opportunities of support play," he said.

"At the moment the shape of how we are trying to play is good.

"It's now about developing the off-load and being able to bust through holes, playing the channels and finishing. We are a whisker away from it all clicking."

England have lost on their last two visits to Paris and Robinson is keenly aware of the scale of the challenge awaiting them on Sunday.

"We haven't won in France since 2000, which was a special performance because of its defence and the team grew because of that," he added.

"If you don't get in their faces and allow them to play, if you start hearing the band and the rhythm they play with they can score 30-40 points within 40 minutes.

"We know this game is a huge challenge for us."

Andy Robinson was talking to Jeremy Guscott. Watch the full interview before France v England on BBC One, Sunday, 1430 GMT.

Interview: Andy Robinson

Talking tactics
10 Mar 06 |  Six Nations
Robinson seeks positives in Paris
09 Mar 06 |  Six Nations
England recall Dawson and Stevens
07 Mar 06 |  Six Nations
Guscott condemns England tactics
26 Feb 06 |  Six Nations
Robinson rues poor ball retention
25 Feb 06 |  Six Nations
Scotland 18-12 England
25 Feb 06 |  Six Nations
Italy 16-31 England
11 Feb 06 |  Six Nations
England 47-13 Wales
04 Feb 06 |  Six Nations


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