Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

High for Noon but a Low for England

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

High for Noon but a Low for England

Article excerpt

Byline: By Andrew Baldock

Jamie noon today reflected on England's latest RBS 6 Nations calamity, and admitted: "It was a bitterly disappointing result."

For on a day when the Newcastle centre came of age in international rugby, fly-half Charlie Hodgson and his fellow-goalkicker Olly Barkley missed six penalties between them as France compounded England's post-World Cup misery by claiming a first Twickenham victory since 1997.

While England outscored the reigning Six Nations champions 2-0 on tries ( Barkley and wing Josh Lewsey claiming quality first-half touchdowns ( French scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili was England's nemesis for a second successive season.

The former Gloucester star amassed 19 points during England's defeat in Paris last March, and he added another 18 through six successful penalties to keep French Grand Slam hopes alive with an 18-17 win.

England have now lost eight of their last 11 Tests, and although they played far more rugby than against Wales a week earlier, the end product remained the same ( defeat.

Not since 1987 had England lost three championship games in a row, and they must now pick themselves up for a Dublin appointment with unbeaten Ireland on February 27.

"I wanted to do well for myself," admitted Noon. "That's what drives you on but while I'm reasonably happy with the way I played, I'm bitterly disappointed with the result.

"I was pumped up for the game because I felt under a lot of pressure from some of the criticism in the media last week and what happened to Taity (Mathew Tait), and I felt I answered some of that yesterday.

"When Olly scored from my pass I suppose there was a feeling of release and that's why I celebrated a bit. I felt we did well in the first half and dominated the game but we didn't seem to function too well as a team in the second half and we will have to look at that. We have now suffered two narrow defeats and, if anything, that will take the pressure off us when we travel to Dublin to take on Ireland in our next match.

"They have now overtaken us in the world rankings and will be firm favourites, which is no bad thing for us."

Noon's sentiments were shared by Barkley, with the Bath centre adding: "The last two games we have lost by two points and one point, and it is a bitter pill to swallow. …

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