Football: Surprise Return Delights Bracken

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), February 19, 2003 | Go to article overview

Football: Surprise Return Delights Bracken


Byline: FRANK MALLEY KYRAN

Bracken learned he was facing Wales on Saturday after receiving one of the most unexpected telephone calls of his career.

The Saracens scrum-half was still fulfilling his advised lay-off on Monday after being concussed when he was hit by a high tackle from Gloucester centre Robert Todd on February 2.

The call from England head coach Clive Woodward inviting him to replace Andy Gomarsall left Bracken almost as dazed as Todd's challenge.

``I wasn't expecting to get a phone call but I'm glad to be back involved,'' said Bracken, who won the last of his 41 caps for England against Italy last April.

``Sport is like that. It happens. I feel sorry for Andy Gomarsall, who had a good game on Saturday, but maybe they're looking for something a bit different.''

In fact, England coach Clive Woodward is searching for a swifter service to fly-half Jonny Wilkinson and more penetration and snap at the back of the scrum than England produced against France in their 25-17 triumph on Saturday.

With Northampton's Matt Dawson still recovering from a calf injury, Woodward turned to Dublin-born Bracken for a position in which no-one has dominated over the past decade.

It gives the 31-year-old a fresh chance to stake his claim to be part of the England adventure in World Cup year, especially after missing the 1999 World Cup and the subsequent Six-Nations Championship with a back injury.

England doctor Simon Kemp confirmed that Bracken was fully recovered, however, for a match which will be his first at the Millennium Stadium. …

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