RUGBY: Moody backs Ford for Rome finale

Wiltshire Times: George Ford George Ford

LEWIS Moody has urged England to adopt an all-out attack policy against Italy with Bath's George Ford the fly-half who should conduct the required points grab in Rome.

The climactic round of the RBS 6 Nations unfolds on Saturday with England, Ireland and France locked in a three-way shoot-out for the title.

Armed with a seemingly insurmountable points difference, the Irish are in the driving seat knowing victory at the Stade de France would all-but assure Brian O'Driscoll's final Test ends in fairytale fashion.

Italy must be overwhelmed at the Stadio Olimpico as Ireland's points superiority is 49 greater than England's, but former Bath flanker Moody insists it can be done.

And the former Red Rose captain believes 20-year-old Bath fly-half Ford, who made his debut as a late replacement in Sunday's 29-18 victory over Wales, should be asked to pull the strings.

"England can allow George a start," said Moody, speaking as part of the Compressed Live event to celebrate the launch of the new Unilever Compressed deodorants.

"I don't think changing one player in the starting XV will have a great impact on the outcome of the match.

"George needs game time because England need to see what other options they have at fly-half, so hopefully he'll start against Italy.

"England have their hands on a piece of silverware in the Triple Crown, which is reward for their endeavour so far.

"OK it's not what they want, they want the title and to do that they have to score as many points as possible against Italy.

"England still have an opportunity, so they have to go out and play.

"You play to win silverware so there's no doubt in my mind they'll be going out to get the points they need.

"England will win this game against Italy, it's a case of by how much.

"Winning the Six Nations is a massive long shot, but they can do everything possible to put themselves in contention."

England were kept in title contention with a surprisingly comfortable victory over Wales at Twickenham that avenged their 30-3 rout in Cardiff last year.

Moody was disappointed by Wales, who he believes are suffering from the after-affects of providing the majority of the Test team for the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour.

"At half time I thought England were 20 points better than Wales," Moody said.

"Leigh Halfpenny was the only player keeping Wales in the game. Wales were lacking across the board, but England were outstanding. They outgunned them in all areas.

"The only disappointment for England was that they allowed Wales back into the game several times. Eighteen points from penalties is too many.

"Wales seemed to be missing something. They've come off the back of a hugely long season and seem to be suffering the effects of having the majority of that Lions squad away for the majority of last summer.

"Players like Alun-Wyn Jones were played repeatedly and got very little rest.

"Take that first 20 minutes...when England looked thriving, confident, buzzing and full of life, you take a snapshot from where I was stood and Wales had their hands on their knees and breathing heavily.

"It was international rugby, but at that point of the game you wouldn't expect to see half your squad bent over."

Moody views the 13-10 win against Ireland as the better result for England and while he believes they will go on to become a "brilliant, brilliant team", he fears the 2015 World Cup will be a bridge too far.

"It's an exciting time for England, but will the World Cup be too soon for this developing team? In my mind yes it will," he said.

MORE BATH RUGBY NEWS & REACTION IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES

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