- New Attack Coach Mike Catt on getting up to speed with England
- Premiership experience and Lions pedigree aids world cup winner
Mike Catt is confident his in-depth knowledge of the Aviva Premiership and experience of the British and Irish Lions in 1997 will allow him to make an immediate impact on England’s attack on the tour to South Africa
Catt, 40, joined the England coaching set-up from London Irish on a short-term contract until June 30 and his first task is to get up to speed on the 42 players Stuart Lancaster has picked for the June tour.
The 2003 World Cup winner believes he is at an advantage after analysing these individuals for the last five years – even playing against some of them – and helping The Exiles to the Premiership final in 2009.
And with Lions success all about moulding a team in a short-space of time, Catt said from a windy Loughborough: “There are parallels with a Lions tour but the nice thing is I’ve obviously analysed all the players on a week-by-week basis for the last four or five years – and probably played against some of them too.
“From a coaching point of view I understand exactly what Graham Rowntree is all about, how he wants to play the game, what he needs and how I can complement him. With Stuart it’s the first time I’ve been worked under him and I’m looking forward to finding out how he does things.
“He’s very decisive but also open-minded when it comes to the game plan. It’s a limited time, but that’s the job I’ve been given.”
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Two players from London Irish are part of the travelling party – established loosehead prop Alex Corbisiero, who started all five 2012 RBS 6 Nations games and uncapped centre Jonathan Joseph.
Catt, who has started a Test in every backline position bar-scrum half, may not be au fait with the arts of the front row but he admires the consistency and mentality of 23-year-old Corbisiero and added former England Under 20 Joseph or ‘JJ’ has the quality to cement a place in Stuart Lancaster’s plans for years to come.
The 75-cap back said: “Alex’s main strength is that he’s massively passionate about the game. What he’s done is deliver on a Saturday afternoon and especially in an England shirt recently.
“I thought he and Dan Cole were immense and it’s gives you an extra dimension when you attack with their versatility and workrate. He epitomises what Stuart wants his squad to be like – being passionate and working for your mate next to you and he’s one of the guys who does that.
“JJ as we call him has that little bit of X-factor, he creates something out of nothing and the big thing for me is that he very rarely makes a mistake. For a young kid he’s a bit like Owen Farrell in terms of making the right decision at the right time.
“This is a great opportunity to for him to cement a place and really show Stuart want he’s capable of doing. He’s scored some fantastic tries and it will be great to see him up against some of the best in the world.”