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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2008, 19:22 GMT
Andy Gomarsall column
England scrum-half Andy Gomarsall
Andy Gomarsall
England scrum-half

The cliché is that you are only as good as your last game and we lost our last game - even if it was a World Cup final.

England scrum-half Andy Gomarsall
I have never been happier in an England shirt

England scrum-half Andy Gomarsall

So we've go to put that right against Wales on Saturday.

The new Wales coach Warren Gatland has already said that it's is going to be a physical encounter and it pretty much goes without saying that he's right. Every England v Wales game is always a huge physical test.

I am massively looking forward to this weekend. As soon as the World Cup final finished, I thought that I want more of this.

Although I've got 33 caps, I've not made many starts in the Six Nations and that's something that I want to put change.

A team like Wales can turn up and beat anyone on their day, and they are going to be very dangerous because the motivation is enormous.

They didn't have the best World Cup and they have a new coaching staff of Warren Gatland and Shaun Edwards to impress: they are going to be fully pumped coming to Twickenham.

We cannot second guess what they are going to bring to the table and we have to be 100% focused when they have the ball because they have dangerous players.

We can only concentrate on ourselves and make sure that we are singing from the same hymn sheet and up for a big battle. That is what international rugby is all about, the intensity and the physicality.

Physically, it has been a light week for us in training and that is down to some sensible management.

They could have tried to tick every box but that would just tire the boys out. The important thing is that we do our homework at the hotel and be very sharp for the weekend.


As a team, we have to look forward, but we also have to build on the spirit we gained in the World Cup. That is what got us through it and made us successful.

The World Cup was such an intense experience. We were away from our families for a long time and I had to recharge my batteries once I got home.

I am very grateful and fortunate that I had a great man-manager in Dean Richards at Harlequins. He has looked after me really well and now I'm able to come to the Six Nations as a 33-year-old feeling like a 23-year-old.

I look back on the emotion of last year - going from not having a contract to getting a club, moving to London and then playing in the World Cup - and there are a million and one reasons why I was pretty knackered after the World Cup.

I certainly didn't think about joining Mike Catt, Jason Robinson, Martin Corry and Lawrence Dallaglio in retiring from Test rugby.

Those guys have played a lot more times for England than I have. I was still desperate to be involved. I have never been happier in an England shirt.

With legends like those guys retiring, we're seeing some fresh faces like James Haskell and Luke Narraway in the England side and it's fantastic to see and refreshing for the old fellas like me.

England number eight Luke Narraway
Narraway will make his England debut on Saturday

If England are going to look to the future then we do need people pressing claims to be in the squad. It only strengthens the squad and English rugby.

James Haskell was involved in the pre-World Cup squad and most people would say that he was unlucky to make the final squad. He is a fantastic player, a great ball carrier as well as having a huge workrate.

And I played with Luke Narraway at Gloucester and he's a tremendous talent. I've got to make sure I look after him, it's his debut and he's going to be nervous and I'll have to take the pressure off him.

New faces also give us the chance to develop our game, so we're excited about that. That doesn't happen overnight but we can do that now with the structure we have in place.

The support from the World Cup was unreal and those memories will stay with us for a long, long time. But we couldn't wait to get back to Twickenham to play in front of our home fans.

When the stadium is packed, the crowd roaring and the music blaring, it's a pretty awesome experience when you walk out.

Singing the national anthem with the lads is emotional, especially when you get to the latter stages of your career. But then you tune your mind to concentrate on doing the business for your family, the boys on the field and the supporters.

It is a hell of a tournament like a mini-World Cup. It's a massive journey again, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Andy Gomarsall was talking to BBC Sport Interactive's Mark Orlovac

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