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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 September 2007, 06:57 GMT 07:57 UK
Sackey ready for Habana contest
By Bryn Palmer
BBC Sport in Paris

Paul Sackey
Sackey is held in high regard by Lewsey
Paul Sackey aims to leave his mark on the World Cup when England face South Africa and prove Bryan Habana does not have a monopoly on try-scoring feats.

The Wasps wing watched Habana rip Samoa apart with four tries on Sunday and is relishing the chance to measure himself against the Springboks flyer.

"Habana was awesome," Sackey said. "I thought 'I'd like to play against him and show what I can do.

"If we play to our plan I could cause them a few problems myself."

606: DEBATE

Sackey, 27, will win just his fifth cap at the Stade de France on Friday after being drafted on to England's left wing for their crucial pool clash, with Jason Robinson switching to full-back in place of the dropped Mark Cueto.

As the owner of his own car-sourcing business, finding and selling top-of-the-range cars, Sackey recognises a Rolls Royce performance when he sees one.

And given his opening gambit against Samoa, the fleet-footed Habana is already purring through the gears in the Springboks' quest for World Cup glory.

"Obviously he is their dangerman," Sackey noted. "He's got great feet, great awareness, that ability to stop and go, and his balance is unbelievable.

Obviously he is their dangerman

Sackey on Habana

"The way he took his first try against Samoa, when he got hit, looked like he was going to fall, but got back up again and went straight under the posts, was awesome.

"But I am not worrying about him. I have just got to worry about myself at the moment. This is the biggest game of my career and I have to focus on what I need to do."

A World Cup debut is further reward for the punishing pre-season regime Sackey put himself through last summer under the guidance of sprint coach Margot Wells, the wife of former Olympic 100m champion Allan.

Determined to progress from England 'A' level and force his way into the World Cup reckoning, Sackey travelled to Guildford for daily one-to-one sessions that he paid for himself.

Bryan Habana
Habana scored four tries in the rout of Samoa

A strong start to the season saw him earn a Test debut against the All Blacks at Twickenham in November, and a sparkling individual try against Argentina the following week was the highlight of an otherwise dismal day for England.

But injury stalled his momentum, and after missing the last two Tests of Andy Robinson's regime, both against South Africa, Sackey cracked his right kneecap just after Christmas and was sidelined for the entire Six Nations.

A two-try, man-of-the-match display on his comeback for Wasps in their Heineken Cup semi-final win over Northampton swiftly returned him to the selectors' thoughts.

And the work he has put in on the defensive side of his game was vividly illustrated with a memorable role in their final victory over Leicester, nullifying the threat of the Tigers' giant Samoan wing Alesana Tuilagi.

Even then, Sackey's place in the World Cup squad was a close-run thing, David Strettle's untimely foot injury slightly easing the strong competition at wing.

If Jason Robinson remains the best close-range finisher in the squad, Sackey, who clocked 10.7 seconds for the 100m as a 16-year-old, is the only player in the Habana mould who could be expected to run in a score from 70 or 80 metres.

"'Sacks' is one of the best try-scorers in the Premiership and the way he takes his opportunities, he is very similar to Bryan Habana - he is no slouch at all," said his fellow Wasps wing Josh Lewsey.

"If we get half a chance on Friday, we want him to be on the end of it."



SEE ALSO
Banned Burger out of England game
12 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
England face crisis at fly-half
11 Sep 07 |  English
Sackey talks up Wasps Cup chances
16 May 07 |  Rugby Union
Winger Sackey has knee operation
26 Jan 07 |  London Wasps
Sackey primed for England chance
01 Nov 06 |  Rugby Union
Sackey aiming for England call-up
30 Sep 06 |  London Wasps
England hatch defence for Habana
11 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union


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