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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 18:41 GMT
Andy Gomarsall column
England scrum-half Andy Gomarsall
Andy Gomarsall
Axed England scrum-half

As a professional sportsman, it's always very difficult to watch a match that you think you should be playing in, but that's life sometimes. You just have to deal with it.

Richard Wigglesworth
I was very impressed with Richard Wigglesworth on his first Test start

Ever since I was a kid, I've always wanted England to win and it was no different on Saturday night when I watched them against France.

I just went back to being a fan and hoping that the boys would do what I knew they were capable of.

I went out to watch it with a few friends who are all rugby fans and I ended up feeling like I was commentating on it more than Eddie Butler and Brian Moore!

It was a difficult night for me in a way, but I was just happy to see the boys win. I spoke with Nick Easter, who fully deserved his man-of-the-match award, back at Quins and he said the confidence in the squad is back where it should be.

The performance was a lot, lot better - especially at the breakdown. Like I said in my column last week, I thought that was going to be the key area and the presentation of the ball and the cleaning out were excellent.

We were getting the kind of quick ball which any team thrives on. It makes the scrum-half and the fly-half's job so much easier when guys are running onto it with a bit more pace.

I say all this about the breakdown with a wry smile on my face. We've had strong ball carriers doing really well but it's only as good as the guys clearing out - if it's not done properly then all you have is slow ball.

It was frustrating for me, but I look at it like this: I was the beneficiary of almost exactly the same situation at the World Cup when I came in for Shaun Perry just as the team was starting to get much better ball.

As a scrum-half you just have to smile about it. We all know the score and you just have to get on with it - it's the way it is.

I thought the defensive performance was absolutely heroic. Jamie Noon has been awesome in defence. His great tackle enabled Paul Sackey to go over early on and give us the perfect start, just like when Josh Lewsey scored in the first few minutes of the World Cup semi-final.

France play a great style of rugby but Tests are always won at the breakdown and at set-pieces and I just think the forwards completely outmuscled the French which is not the easiest thing to do.

Forwards coach John Wells has to take a lot of credit - he highlighted the breakdown as a serious problem and we worked hard on it during the week and saw the fruits of that in Paris.

We managed to convert the pressure into points and that forced them to play catch-up rugby and that suited us down to the ground. It really showed in the last few minutes when they were tried to play from deep and we forced the error and got the try to seal it.

Of course it was Richard Wigglesworth, the man who replaced me at scrum-half, who scored it - what a way for him to finish his first England start.

I was very impressed with him - there's a lot to build on there for him.

The try will give him a lot of confidence. The Stade de France is a very intimidating place to play, and he came through it superbly. For a young player, that is invaluable to have under your belt.

But all rugby players know that a week can be a long time in sport and you never know what is round the corner so I certainly haven't thrown the towel in.

My back injury is fine and I'm raring to go but I won't be starting for Harlequins at the weekend.

Danny Care has been playing fantastically well while I've been away and I knew he would take his chance because he's such a fantastic talent.

He's a future England scrum-half, no question, so there's no need for Quins to change it at the moment because he's playing so well. I just have to be patient now.

Andy Gomarsall was talking to BBC Sport's Phil Harlow



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