- Analysis from fly half Toby Flood after England’s victory over Fiji
- “We’re grounded and always looking to develop” – Flood
England recorded a record margin of victory over Fiji in the opening QBE International but fly half Toby Flood said the side are interested in performances and pay little attention to score lines, even if history is made.
Stuart Lancaster’s side kicked off their autumn in fine style in front of a sell-out crowd, with many new or returning faces making their mark. Full back Alex Goode electrified the match with dazzling creativity on his first home start, while fellow Twickenham first timers Charlie Sharples (2) and Tom Johnson scored and Ugo Monye notched on his first Test start since 2010.
A penalty try and two devastating late charges from Manu Tuilagi completed the scoring but for Flood, among the numerous positives, are areas to work on if they are to challenge world’s top three – Australia, South Africa and New Zealand – who visit Twickenham the next three weekends.
“We’re grounded as a side and everyone is looking inwards and trying to develop that way, no one is trying to look for records,” said Flood, who was an imaginative creator throughout and finished with 17 points from the tee.
“We’re fully aware that it’s a long road and it’s one we want to get right. We’ll be really precise [in our analysis] and quite harsh in terms of getting the little bits right to make sure things like letting breaks through does not happen. Because when you play Australia or you play South Africa they are going to take those opportunities and do you some damage.”
Photo: Getty Images
Even in the immediate aftermath of the game, the 27-year-old is always able to provide eloquent analysis and despite not yet having the chance to pour over the video, the Leicester Tigers No.10 pinpointed several areas to improve.
Describing the performance as professional, he said: “We were pleased with large chunks of it but there were certainly pieces we’d like to develop. It’s difficult now in the post mortem with how short it is to digest it and get it right but we’ll look over the game in great detail and find out where we need to improve.
“There were a few tries left out there early in the game, not controlling the ball from a couple of lineouts and turning the ball over. They’re minute things but could have a big impact further down the line.”
England’s rhythm was interrupted by the sin binning of scrum half Danny Care for a dangerous tackle in the 10th minute. Flood was pleased with the way the side handed the disruption and believes, again looking to the future, that the experience of playing without a key decision maker may aid them in future games.
“It’s always going to hurt you when you lose a two, a nine or your lineout lock but it’s a situation you have to deal with,” said Flood, whose points tally in the game took him past 250 international points and 150 for England at Twickenham.
Photo: Getty Images
“Moving Alex [Goode] from 15 to nine really restricts what you can do and how you can play the game, so it’s important for us to be aware of that. If we’d done that against South Africa, New Zealand or Australia and managed to not concede for 10 minutes with a nine in the bin we’d be pretty happy so we’ll learn from that and the manner we kicked on when Danny came back was really good.”
Goode was named QBE Man of the Match after impressing throughout and providing assists for three of England’s first four tries. His ability to fix multiple defenders and send big men through holes was notable in England’s best attacking moves, a feature of the game not lost on Flood.
He added: “The great thing for me is that he’s a good communicator, he’s played 10 and he looks for the same kind of ideas as I do. He’s outside and he voices it really well, he’s moves in and makes it great for me having an extra pair of hands on the field and someone who is willing to kick, catch, run and pass.
“I thought he was outstanding, to come out and play like that for a first start at Twickenham shows the confidence of the guy, the ability and the want he has to keep hold of the shirt.”