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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 October, 2003, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
The calmness of Clive

By Matt Dawson
England scrum-half

It was with some relief I came through a hard training session with no problems to my knee.

I'm now ready to get back into the swing of things against Samoa.

I managed to find time to have a few drinks with Mike Tindall in Melbourne on his birthday.

Mind you, we didn't go overboard as it wasn't the best time to celebrate in the middle of a World Cup. Mike's turned 25, although he looks a lot older!

Clive Woodward is a major influence on the England squad
Woodward keeps his head while others around him are losing theirs

Our squad arrived on Sunday, and although the players had a day off on Monday, I had to get on with my rehabilitation for the injury.

When travelling with the boys you tend to find out that there aren't many quiet ones.

The two monkeys, Ian Balshaw and Tindall, always keep the others amused while Mark Regan is good value with his one-liners.

We've had a bit of laugh at some of the stories in the local papers.

It's great the way they scream and shout about the way England are the most arrogant nation - it's just comical.

If the English press were caught writing something derogatory about New Zealand, South Africa or Australia then they'd be absolutely slated.

We just have to sit here and accept it and keep our feelings to ourselves.

Recent comments made by John Eales about our mauling techniques are neither here nor there.

The England camp at present is fairly calm and that's mainly thanks to our coach Clive Woodward.

Matt Dawson
Dawson: Ready for Samoa
The boss has instilled an elite performance mentality in us, simply because he's got it himself.

He likes to perform at his best, and that's certainly rubbing off onto the coaching staff and then onto the players under his control.

However, it's not all been plain sailing.

There was a lot of edginess last week before the South Africa game, because the stakes were very high.

Clive in those circumstances is inclined to be very calm when others would get flustered.

He's safe in the knowledge he has a world-class coaching set-up and good players to implement his thoughts.

I will link up with my family again, this week. They've just enjoyed a three-day train trip from Perth to Adelaide.

They said it was pretty awesome. They're now staying with all the Irish lads and mum had a coffee with Keith Wood.

The folks will be in Melbourne for the game against Samoa, and hopefully they'll see a victory.

Links to more England stories


A collective show of character
18 Oct 03  |  England

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