Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 February 2008, 10:17 GMT
Andy Gomarsall column
England scrum-half Andy Gomarsall
Andy Gomarsall
Axed England scrum-half

After starting England's first two matches in the Six Nations, I have been dropped for Saturday's game against France and it goes without saying I am very disappointed with the decision.

Andy Gomarsall in action for England in the 2008 Six Nations
I know that when I am on top form I can be the best scrum-half in the country - I have just got to prove that and get back to that again

Brian Ashton explained his decision by saying I had lost my spark from the World Cup.

I tried to beg to differ but it is very subjective - you have just got to try and accept it and move on quickly to prove them wrong.

I was massively looking forward to England versus France.

I was part of the team which beat France in the World Cup semi-final and facing the old enemy at the Stade de France again was a mouthwatering prospect.

I had built myself up for the game so it is a big knock but it is something I have dealt with before. While it is disappointing now, I know I can bounce back.

If I was playing really, really badly I would be worried but as a half-back, you are somewhat judged on a team's performance. When the team is finishing well, it reflects well on you.

This team has not been functioning as well as it can. We have not had the best ball and the speed of delivery has affected my game.

I have suffered from the fact we have had no quick ball and that is what I thrive on as a scrum-half.

Receiving the call on Tuesday morning was not a pleasant experience.

You are called into a meeting room before the team is announced, so if you are called in you know you are probably not going to be in the team.

Recently we have not been dominating the ruck area and the breakdown and I know the boys are going to be working hard on it this week

I do not think missing Harlequins' game at the weekend with a back spasm contributed to the decision - if it did I was not told.

If there had been any doubts over my form - and I had not been told there were until Tuesday - it would have been a good opportunity to show people what I can do, but it was not meant to be.

I have been speaking with guys in the team who have been around the block about these situations.

If you are struggling as a team, where do they look? It seems they have gone to a decision maker to drop - somebody involved between the forwards and the backs.

It is just one of those things and that is why you just have to take it on the chin.

As a scrum-half you can be doing your basics well and doing your job and you can be man of the match because the ball you get is fantastic.

When the team is struggling it is hard to function. You have just got to show energy and try to pick the team up, which is what I bring to the equation and what I thought I was doing, but I have since been told I am not, so I have got to look at that.

Scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth pictured during England training on Tuesday
Richard Wigglesworth will start at scrum-half in place of Gomarsall

Would I change things from the last two games? I think I would now and I was looking forward to putting that right against France, but that is the nature of the competitiveness of our game and I have suffered for that.

I am delighted for my replacement Richard Wigglesworth. For him to get his first start is brilliant.

We worked together on Tuesday afternoon on our skills and he is an excellent player.

I know he will do well and what is frustrating for me is that I am confident he will get quick ball this weekend.

I know the boys are working on it and the breakdown is a massive area at the moment.

In the latter stages of the World Cup we were winning the breakdown, even dominating it, which enabled me to function.

This was highlighted in our debrief and I believe it will the key to us winning in Paris.

Recently we have not been dominating the ruck area and the breakdown and I know the boys are going to be working hard on it this week - it is a real focus for us.

It is a frustration for me and one that, with hindsight, I should been a lot firmer on, but I do not take full responsibility for it all, I hope.


It is a team game and we are all accountable.

I may be one of the older players in the squad but Brian gave me no indication whatsoever that it was the end of the road and I know I can bounce back from this, no problem at all.

I know that when I am on top form I can be the best scrum-half in the country - I have just got to prove that and get back to that again.

I will now go home to my family and then see what happens when I link back up with Harlequins.

The guys were looking sharp in training on Tuesday, so I have every faith the boys will win on Saturday - I firmly believe it will be a great night for English rugby.

As for me, while people may think it is the end I can tell them it is definitely not the end at all.

It can be a very short week in rugby so, while it is a disappointment now, one week you can be down in the dumps and the next week you are starting and getting man of the match.

This will not be the end.

Andy Gomarsall was talking to BBC Sport's James Standley

Stevens backs England to triumph
11 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
Wilkinson praises England display
10 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
Italy 19-23 England
10 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
England's nasty case of deja vu
11 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
Pundits on England
10 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
Italy v England player ratings
10 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
Italy v England as it happened
10 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
Italy v England match stats
31 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations photos
10 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us | Advertise with us