Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cardiff Horror Won't Worry Tait, Says Catt

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cardiff Horror Won't Worry Tait, Says Catt

Article excerpt


MIKE CATT today predicted centre Mathew Tait would erase the memory of his Cardiff disaster by powering England to triumph against Wales in front of 72,000 hostile fans tomorrow.

The final act of a fascinating RBS Six Nations Championship offers Tait the chance to prove he has become a world-class player only two years after his Test debut as an 18-year-old resulted in him being cast into the rugby wilderness after England lost 11-9.

Catt, 35, partners Tait in midfield and they face the muscular Welsh pair of recalled captain Gareth Thomas and Tom Shanklin.

The England captain, who has managed one 40-minute training session since the win over France due to hamstring worries, said: "Mathew has a lot to offer both defensively - where he is very strong - and in attack. He is extremely quick and I am sure Gareth Thomas and Tom Shanklin will go to sleep tonight knowing that Mathew has the pace on them.

"We have to launch Mathew on the outside of those players and not ask him to try to run through the middle and I am certain he will go very well. He has grown up massively since that game in 2005 and he won't be concerned about what happened that day."

Catt knows it is imperative for England to win away after recording three Championship victories at Twickenham this season and head coach Brain Ashton has challenged his players to prove they have the "bravery" to unleash a dynamic attacking strategy against winless Wales.

England could clinch the Six Nations title by consigning Wales to the wooden spoon, but a France win over Scotland looks certain to give them the championship crown, no matter what Ireland do against Italy.

While Ashton today joked that "40 points was well within our capabilities" if that was the victory margin needed to win the title, Catt emphasised the need for that improved away performance. "This is going to be an incredibly tough match but we need this kind of challenge at this stage of the team's development," he said.

"This match will take us out of our comfort zone and we will soon discover if we can handle the pressure. …

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