Martin Johnson’s miserable couple of weeks got even worse today after Rugby Football Union chief executive John Steele demanded England finish in the Six Nations top two.
England are 2/1 favourites in the Ladbrokes Six Nations betting to win the Championship, but their preparations haven’t exactly gone to plan, with a host of injuries to contend with, including captain Lewis Moody.
England have just set off to the Algarve for some warm weather training and no doubt these latest comments will be ringing in the ears of Johnson.
Steele said: “Given we have three matches at home and have some momentum from the autumn, we believe finishing in the top two is a realistic expectation – coming third or below would be disappointing.
“We are also looking to see the development of our young players continue and our playing style evolve further as we build to the World Cup later this year, where we are fully expecting to be in the mix after the group stages.”
England face Wales in Cardiff in their opening game of the championship and have a tough task of getting a win to kick-start their championship.
Wales have just named their 28 man squad for the Six Nations and there have been a couple of surprises – most notably the omission of Lions flanker Martyn Williams.
Fly-half Rhys Priestland, flanker Josh Turnbull, No.8 Toby Faletau and props Ryan Bevington, Scott Andrews have been named though and look set to get their first taste of international action.
England have a poor record at the Millennium Stadium, losing their last three games there (the significance of which is discussed in more detail here), so backing another win for Wales against the pressure-ridden England looks well worth a bet.
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