Hove (Royaume-Uni) (AFP) – Former England fly-half Rob Andrew hopes the hurt of this season’s Six Nations will drive the current side onto greater heights.
England, who had been bidding for a third successive title, finished a lowly fifth — their worst Championship performance in 31 years — this term after three straight defeats by Scotland, France and Grand Slam champions Ireland.
That trio of losses also raised doubts over whether England, under their Australian coach, Eddie Jones, could indeed dethrone reigning champions New Zealand at next year’s World Cup in Japan.
Andrew was involved in the England team of 1987 that finished equal fourth in the old Five Nations.
Three years later he was England’s No 10 when they suffered a shock loss away to Scotland in a Grand Slam-decider at Murrayfield.
But after that 1990 reverse, England won succesive Grand Slams in 1991 and 1992, a period where they also reached the 1991 World Cup final only to lose to Australia at Twickenham.
“If you’ve been lucky enough to be involved, you have a bad season,” Andrew, now the chief executive of English county cricket side Sussex, told AFP at the south coast club’s Hove ground on Wednesday.
“We had it in 1990, the (2003) England World Cup-winning team lost a couple of Grand Slam deciders as well,” added Andrew, who played a key role in the 1989 British and Irish Lions series win in Australia.
“There’s some good players there — it’s a matter of using it (the defeats) as a driver to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” explained the 55-year-old, who scored 396 points in 71 Tests for England from 1985-1997.
“We certainly did that after 1990 when we lost the Grand Slam game in Scotland,” recalled Andrew, having been the professional rugby director at England’s governing Rugby Football Union (RFU).
“It gives you a bit more resolve, because it hurts, and obviously you’ve got to work out the tactical and technical things that have gone wrong.
“That’s down to the coaching team to fix those things, but the bottom line is they (England) haven’t become a bad side overnight and there’s a very talented group of players there.”