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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 August 2007, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
Ashton plays down Vickery worries
Phil Vickery
Vickery looked to be knocked out at the end of the first half
England coach Brian Ashton is confident skipper Phil Vickery will be available for the World Cup despite being injured in the 22-9 defeat by France.

The Wasps prop was stretchered off after a midfield collision with concussion, a condition that usually comes with a mandatory three-week ban.

"The England doctor said 50% of guys concussed in the Premiership play the following week," said Ashton.

"The indication is he will be fine come the start of the World Cup."

A three-week ban would take Vickery right up to England's World Cup opener against USA on 8 September.

Ashton had breakfast with Vickery on Sunday morning and said the player was "fine", although he added that "the England doctor said to me you just do not know in these situations until 24 or 48 hours down the line".

Ashton is also confident about the fitness of Leicester back-rower Martin Corry, who limped off after getting his knee caught underneath him in contact in the second half.

"Martin wasn't over-concerned about it after the game," added Ashton. "The medics haven't seen him this morning, and I suspect had it been really serious then he would have been down very early to see them."

606: DEBATE
MBS

Shaun Perry also suffered a dead leg but Ashton expects the Bristol scrum-half to be available for the start of the World Cup campaign.

Ashton made no excuses for his side's comprehensive 22-9 defeat in Marseille, admitting his players had failed to lay the foundations necessary for victory.

"The big disappointment is that the basics of our game that were there against Wales and France in the past two weeks let us down," said Ashton.

"You don't win games in Marseille if you don't get the fundamentals right.

"We just didn't play well enough and the players are very disappointed and frustrated, but we have got good enough players to put that right.

"We should have scored a try in the first 10 minutes, but we didn't, and then we lost field position and couldn't regain it.

"We also got a man sin-binned and we conceded 10 points when he was off the field, so when you put all those things together there is no way you are going to beat France in Marseille."

England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson
We made too many mistakes, we gave the ball away and our discipline cost us

England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson

Ashton was not happy with some of the decision-making under pressure as England failed to score a try for the second match in a row.

Wilkinson scored all of England's points, kicking three penalties, but England's attacking threat with ball in hand was minimal.

"The French forwards played better this week than they did last week, and they gave the team the platform to win them the game," added Ashton.

"I said at half-time that we needed to show composure when we had the ball, but after two or three phases the ball would be turned over.

"You would expect a lot more composure to be shown, but it just wasn't there."

Wilkinson - who moved up to third on the all-time list of Test scorers with 915 points - admitted England got what they deserved from their last match before the World Cup.

"We made it hard for ourselves," said the 28-year-old.

"We didn't get enough of our game plan in there. We made too many mistakes, we gave the ball away and our discipline cost us."

It was vital to win this game

France coach Bernard Laporte

England full-back Mark Cueto conceded that England had been outplayed at the Stade Velodrome.

"The scoreboard was a fair reflection of the game," he said.

"We went with a game plan and kicked off how we wanted to play the game, but we made it difficult for ourselves."

France coach Bernard Laporte said he was particularly pleased with his team's forward effort.

"We had a powerful scrum which put the English under pressure," said Laporte.

"That's a positive point. It was vital to win this game because to launch the World Cup in France we couldn't lose. I'm satisfied with the performance."

SEE ALSO
France 22-9 England
18 Aug 07 |  English
France v England as it happened
18 Aug 07 |  Rugby Union
France change eight for England
17 Aug 07 |  Rugby Union
Chuter to miss key England match
17 Aug 07 |  English
Ashton content with 'Dad's Army'
14 Aug 07 |  English
Tindall & Hodgson miss World Cup
13 Aug 07 |  English
England 15-21 France
11 Aug 07 |  Rugby Union


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