Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

We Should Remember the Role Played by Harry in England's Recovery

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

We Should Remember the Role Played by Harry in England's Recovery

Article excerpt

Byline: JASON LEONARD

NOTHING Jonny Wilkinson ever does surprises me.

He is such a dedicated young man and it would have been a travesty if his career had been defined by one drop goal.

Yes, that kick did win England the World Cup in 2003, but Jonny had played so many fantastic games for England before then and his performance against Scotland reminded everyone just what he has done and can still do on the pitch. It was amazing to think he had been away for more than three years.

However, I must be one of the few people at Twickenham on Saturday who did not think Jonny's heroic performance warranted the man of the match award.

My choice would have been Harry Ellis, who provided such a great service for Jonny and allowed him to perform so well. The England scrumhalf made a series of wonderful breaks, kept moves alive with his clever "pop" balls to support runners and put in some telling tactical kicks behind the Scottish defence.

I thought his performance was fantastic but I am sure both Jonny and Harry would admit the reason they were able to be so influential was thanks to the work of the England forwards.

The pack provided quality ball for the backs to use and laid the foundations for a great win. I was impressed with the way the England forwards put themselves about against a physical Scottish pack and while it was by no means a perfect display, they showed real commitment.

They competed for every ball and went for the jugular and I believe Phil Vickery, the captain, deserves credit for the way the forwards took the game to Scotland. I was also delighted for Martin Corry, the captain during the autumn internationals, who was wrongly blamed for England's problems during those matches.

Martin responded with a big game against Scotland and both the new and "old" captains of the team played key roles in the win. Everything that the England pack lacked during the autumn was delivered on Saturday and nobody took a backward step.

This total commitment to the cause will be required against Italy on Saturday, as the visitors will bring a very physical challenge to Twickenham. …

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