Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gomarsall: I'm Furious at Being Brushed Aside; Thrown Out: Andy Gomarsall Refuses to Believe That His England Career Is over after Being Dropped for Saturday's Clash with France

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gomarsall: I'm Furious at Being Brushed Aside; Thrown Out: Andy Gomarsall Refuses to Believe That His England Career Is over after Being Dropped for Saturday's Clash with France

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Jones

ANDY GOMARSALL, the Harlequins scrum-half, today claimed he had beenmade a "scapegoat" for England's Six Nations problems after being axed for theclash with France in Paris on Saturday.

Gomarsall, one of England's World Cup heroes in France last year, vowed toprove head coach Brian Ashton wrong and to "give him a kick up the arse inselection" by showing he was still the best scrum-half in England.

Despite being 33 years old, Gomarsall is refusing to accept his 35-cap Testcareer which started in 1996 has come to a natural conclusion and will channelthe anger he feels over becoming the only player dropped after the win overItaly into his quest to earn a recall.

Gomarsall has been replaced by Richard Wigglesworth, the 24-year-old SaleSharks No9, and did not even make the replacements' bench for France withuncapped Paul Hodgson, of London Irish, given that role.

Gomarsall said: "It's a fact that I am annoyed and feel I am a bit of ascapegoat.

I spoke to Jonny Wilkinson about how the half-backs are heroes when quick ballis being produced for us to use and then not when it's coming back slowly. ButI know that I am the best scrum-half in England when on top of my game.

"This is, maybe, a kick up the arse I needed and I told Brian I hope to givehim a kick up the arse in selection and to do that I need to be outstandingwhen I play for Harlequins. It's that simple.

"What does disappoint me is that I was only told about what they wanted from meafter I had been dropped and that means I feel very frustrated. I am gutted tobe missing the French match but I am going to deal with it and yes, I do have achip on my shoulder about this at the moment." Ashton (below) is backingGomarsall to return to Test rugby but warned others were on a final chance.

The coach said: "Andy will fight back and wants to play for England again and Iknow he wasn't happy at being left out. This is a big, big game for someplayers and they are aware of it. …

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