Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Silence of Failure

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Silence of Failure

Article excerpt

England's beaten world champions were still searching today for some positives to come out of their RBS 6 Nations defeat against Ireland.

The best they could do, with a week to go before they meet up again at their Bagshot headquarters to prepare for the next match against Wales, was to store away the pain of losing their record 22-game unbeaten run at Twickenham to act as a future incentive.

Gloucester prop Phil Vickery, in particular, recalled the eerie effect the 19-13 error-strewn defeat had on the men who had spent the best part of three months being feted for their triumph at the World Cup.

"There was a silence in the dressing room, and it hasn't been like that in an England dressing room for a long time," explained Vickery.

"You have to remember that and take something from it the next time you pull on an England jersey, if you ever pull one on again."

Josh Lewsey also attempted to put a more positive spin on a defeat which wrecked England's hopes of adding the Grand Slam to their capture of the Webb Ellis trophy and cut through the air of invincibility exuded at Twickenham for the past four years.

"The pressure is off and we don't have to defend our unbeaten record. We can concentrate on what got us there in the first place," said Lewsey.

"This result will strengthen our resolve and we will bounce back."

Head coach Clive Woodward and his assistants, Andy Robinson and Phil Larder, must address quite how they can restore confidence to a side clearly missing the drive and leadership of retired captain Martin Johnson.

The line-out is the most serious concern, where Ben Kay and Steve Borthwick failed to gel as a second-row partnership, though a fit-again Danny Grewcock would bolster that department as well as bringing vital spark to the flattest of performances.

Other big decisions include whether the supreme delivery of Andy Gomarsall now supersedes the inconsistent foraging of Matt Dawson at scrum-half. …

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