Steve Borthwick insists England have added variations to their lineout in the hope of bamboozling Wales’ research boffins in Saturday’s Six Nations title collision at Twickenham.
Forwards coach Borthwick’s speciality is rooted in the set-piece having completed a playing career in which he made his name as a lineout specialist steeped in the technicality of the game’s most intricate element.
Warren Gatland’s men foiled a last-gasp England line-out in last autumn’s World Cup, producing a crucial read that enabled them to clear their lines and set the hosts on the path to tournament ruin.
Knowing that England’s calls will have been studied in minute detail by arch-rivals Wales, Borthwick believes diversity is key to a play-book that numbers from 20-50 variations depending on the game situation.
“The level of analysis that goes on with every team now is incredible. That continues to step up as teams find better ways to analyse things,” Borthwick said.
“An important part of our game has been to vary our point of attack, how much we drive, how much we go off the top.
“And having different deliveries to ask different questions makes us harder to analyse. Those are things we plan to integrate more into our game.
Variety is the key to countering the heavy scrutiny from rival teams, according to Borthwick.
Calling the lineout at Twickenham on Saturday will be George Kruis, Borthwick’s protege when the second-rowers played together at Saracens.
“We have been improving and looking to improve in the set-piece constantly. We are trying to build this brutal English pack that we talk about and we are on the way to doing so,” said Kruis, who has established himself as England’s first-choice lock.
England have lost replacement hooker Jamie George for the remaining two rounds of the Six Nations, so Luke Cowan-Dickie will supply cover for Dylan Hartley from the bench.