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Former Leinster and Connacht out-half Andy Dunne joined Monday Night Rugby to discuss England.

England lost to Ireland on Saturday. And while the story on these shores is Ireland's Grand Slam victory, the other side of it is England's performance.

After a record-setting loss to France, England played better in Dublin but were still unimpressive on the whole. There's ambiguity about who should start at out-half and even more ambiguity about the identity or philosophy of the squad.

Steve Borthwick has a big job to do before the World Cup later this year.

But Andy Dunne suggests that Borthwick's job might be impossible. English rugby is lacking the quality of players in the current squad and has larger structural issues that is leading to a poor product at the top.

"Maro Itoje looks like a shadow of his former self," Dunne said.

"I don't think Lewis Ludlam looks fit enough to play international rugby as a six. I think [Jack] van Poortvliet is not of the required standard to be an English number nine. They don't seem to know what they're trying to achieve in midfield.

"They're kind of at a crisis point I would have thought. Of English teams I have seen over the years, they were poor. They really were. That probably caught my eye more than Ireland playing superbly well, which we didn't for over 60 minutes.

"There's something going on over there. The Premiership in England is swashbuckling, entertaining stuff at times but I'm not sure it's detailed enough. The players aren't having to work hard enough at breakdowns for example in order to maintain fitness levels.

"There's something amiss I would say in English rugby that I can't quite put my finger on."

England have a lot to work on but not many games before the tournament begins.

Ireland's defence is the best in the world - Brian O'Driscoll.


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England England Rugby Ireland Rugby Maro Itoje Six Nations Steve Borthwick

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