Joe Worsley: winning more important than performance

Nick Heath spoke to Joe Worsley this week and he offered an interesting perspective on the results versus performance debate.

Joe Worsley

James Haskell fought to impress when he came on last week and deserves his starting role, but Johnson has dropped Jordan Crane completely, giving Worsley his place on the bench. With so many familiar faces missing from the team this autumn, a player with two World Cups and a Lions tour under his belt sounds like a good man to have around during game preparations.

Worsley said, “I think during the week you just help out as much as possible. Liaising between team and management, chipping in when you can and then come game time, regardless of pressure you’ve just got to keep performing, that’s what experience teaches you.”

He knows only too well what threat Argentina pose. “Obviously the Pumas have some well known, quality players in their side. Their first phase and their mauling ability, and their tight phase, is second to none on the international scene – one of the main reasons they are a player now on the world circuit. We’re obviously looking at dealing with that and knowing how to counteract it, but we know it’s going to be a really tough ask.”

With Australia’s missed opportunities last week flattering England’s inability to break the gain line, would the Twickenham faithful be content to see a much improved performance, with a victory less important? Worsley replies, “I fundamentally want to win. Going away from a game without a victory is always the worst thing, so I’d take a victory over performance any day.”

“But, the pleasing thing about the Six Nations last year was the level of performance that we pulled out of the bag even in the games we lost. You find that if the performance starts happening then the results start happening, so hopefully we’ll give you both this weekend.”

I think we’d all like to see both, Joe. What do you think? Is the result all that matters? Would you be satisfied with a 9-8 victory if we don’t even threaten to cross the try-line?

3 thoughts on “Joe Worsley: winning more important than performance

  1. Players should always be focused on winning. When they’re given the opportunity to play, that’s their job. It’s different for the coaches though – they have to think at a more strategic, long-term level. That means sometimes selecting a team and a gameplan that isn’t THE most likely to succeed for that one game in isolation, but likely to create more enduring, long-term success. Unfortunately Johnno seems to be firmly rooted in the player mentality, and makes no concession for long-term needs such as experimenting with different tactics or giving opportunity to young, promising players. Thinking one game at a time doesn’t win world cups.

  2. I think the question of ‘performance’ vs ‘winning’ needs to be taken in the context of the opponents. Forget that Argentina are ranked 2 places above England in the world rankings, the rugby public will be less forgiving in scratching out a ‘win’ against the Argies, than they would be against one of the big 3 southern hemisphere teams.

    Beat Australia with 7 Wilko drop-goals; fine. Beat Argentina with no sign of an attacking threat; not so fine.

    After all the hard work and improved performances Argentina have put in over recent years, that’s perhaps an unfair perspective, but a perspective that I believe sits engrained on the England supporters’ psyche.

  3. On a different line of though, who remembers the 1st half vs France in this 6 Nations? We saw a glimpse of how destructive and clinical England could be when given the space to work.

    Was this a result of the forwards’ dominance? France’s lack of defense? Scintillating running lines in the backs?

    Whatever it was, let’s find it again…please.

Comments are closed.