x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Youngs and Flood do not need Leicester to fight their corner

Leicester's England contingent might do better without their club bosses starting battles that do not necessarily need to be fought on their behalf.

Toby Flood's lack of action for England has angered the Leicester Tigers.
Toby Flood's lack of action for England has angered the Leicester Tigers.

Defence of Flood and Youngs is over the top

Leicester Tigers players always talk about being part of a close-knit rugby family at Welford Road. English Premiership rugby's most successful club have certainly got the embarrassing parent thing down pat.

Coming back into the bosom of family life is probably very comforting when a player has been told he is currently not required by his country. However, Leicester's England contingent might do better without their club bosses starting battles that do not necessarily need to be fought on their behalf.

Last year, it was the England coaching staff who were to blame for Toby Flood's radar going on the blink. "You'll have to ask Dave Alred [England's then kicking coach] about that," Richard Cockerill, Leicester's director of rugby said back then of his fly-half's sudden fallibility in front of goal.

And this week, Matt O'Connor was on the defensive again, after Flood and Ben Youngs were overlooked for starting places for England's trip to France in the Six Nations.

Rather than it being down to poor form on the scrum half's' part, or bad luck for Flood, who had been usurped by both Owen Farrell and Charlie Hodgson while he was injured, it was a failing of the England hierarchy instead.

"England don't want creative players, they are just trying not to lose," the head coach was quoted as saying in defence of his two half backs.

Coaches are right to stand up for their players when they have been slighted. But Youngs and Flood are big boys. Perhaps they should be fighting their own battles.