Rugby legend Jonathan Davies has backed claims made by Wales coach Mike Ruddock that England are better off without Jonny Wilkinson.
Charlie Hodgson will start the RBS 6 Nations opener against Wales on Saturday and could retain the number 10 jersey for the entire championship if the worst case scenario regarding Wilkinson's knee injury materialises.
But Ruddock believes Hodgson is a better option at fly-half anyway and Davies, one of the few players to succeed at both codes of rugby following distinguished careers in union and league, sympathises with his view.
"It's a big call from Mike but I can see where he's coming from. Jonny is a player who guarantees control and influence, kicks his goals and is very strong defensively," said the former Wales international.
"But he's been unlucky with injury and has not been at his best when he has been playing. With Charlie Hodgson you get more of an attacking threat than Jonny.
"Charlie is playing extremely well and opposition teams will be very wary of him because he's got great awareness, can put other players in space and is a great passer.
"So Mike is right in what he's saying at the moment. But when Jonny gets back and if he plays to his full potential, it will be a different matter."
England Under-18 head coach John Fletcher insists his young side will be better for the experience after beating Italy in the bronze final to round out their 2015 Rugby Europe U18 Championship campaign in style.