Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Walsh Goes off the Visiting List

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Walsh Goes off the Visiting List

Article excerpt

Byline: By Andrew Baldock

lEngland are ready for another appointment with controversial New Zealand official Steve Walsh today.

But head coach Andy Robinson insists: "The referee is not going to win or lose us the game."

Robinson has consistently met referees before Test matches since he joined the England set-up six years ago, including Irishman Alan Lewis in Sydney last week, when any interpretation issues or technical areas are often discussed.

But Walsh, was not on Robinson's Melbourne agenda yesterday, although he dismissed any suggestion the decision might be based purely on the Kiwi being in charge.

Walsh was involved in an altercation with England fitness coach Dave Reddin the last time they played at Telstra Dome ( a 2003 World Cup pool game against Samoa ( which incurred the wrath of tournament organisers.

"I am going to have a complete change of plan," said Robinson, after England finalised preparations for a Test match they must win to retain the Cook Cup and avoid suffering a 22-year low of five successive defeats.

"I have met with the referee for the past six years and gone through things.

"Sometimes you get benefits from meeting the referee, sometimes you don't.

"The referee will call it as he sees it on the day, as Alan Lewis did last weekend. The referee is not going to win or lose us the game."

England's far greater concern is to be more clinical in attack, finishing off chances ruthlessly instead of frittering them away as they did during Australia's 34-3 first Test triumph at Telstra Stadium.

Strike weapons Iain Balshaw and Tom Varndell remain from last Sunday, although Falcons' Mathew Tait has been moved from outside centre to wing and the more predictable Andy Goode ( rather than playmaker Olly Barkley ( will call the tune from fly-half.

"We are expecting ourselves to be better this week," said Robinson, whose record since replacing World Cup-winning mastermind Sir Clive Woodward in 2004 reveals poor figures of eight wins from 17 starts. …

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