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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 October 2007, 22:29 GMT 23:29 UK



Matt Dawson
By Matt Dawson
Former England scrum-half

I'm just so pleased, proud and honoured to have been able to sit and watch such a dogged, determined and ugly performance from that England side.

Mike Catt and captain Phil Vickery celebrate at the Stade de France
Mike Catt and captain Phil Vickery celebrate at the Stade de France

After four miserable years, they have come from nowhere and produced two magnificent hard-core, professional, precise and gutsy performances.

France had nothing to offer other than a poor kicking game, while England were sensational from one to 22 - they all had their part to play.

I am just gutted not to have been involved. There isn't a man who has played for England who wouldn't swap their right arm to be on that pitch at the end.

Phil Vickery keeps them real. There is a little bit of humour and you see the cheeky grin, but behind closed doors he is pivotal to the team.

He is very much in the Martin Johnson mould of leadership - he is not a shouter or a screamer, he leads by example.

If you've got a front-rower who can take the opposition on, the rest of the team take a lot from that.

A lot of people wonder how you can captain a side from prop, but when he takes it to the opposition like Vickery does they feel inspired in his presence.

Whoever goes through from the other semi-final - whether it is Argentina or South Africa - are going to be petrified.

Matt Dawson

As for coach Brian Ashton, I think back-to-back wins in World Cup quarter and semi-finals warrant every selection he has made.

What I like about him is that he is the same just after winning a semi-final as he was after the loss to South Africa.

It was a very tough time for Brian, particularly in the early part of the World Cup, but he is a very proud man and loves to be involved with England

England are still not a pretty side, but they are now winning games and who says England can't win this tournament?

They've just turned over Australia and France and whoever goes through from the other semi-final - whether it is Argentina or South Africa - are going to be petrified.

Matt Dawson was speaking on BBC Radio 5live

SEE ALSO
England 14-9 France
13 Oct 07 |  English
England v France as it happened
13 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
Rugby World Cup photos
13 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
England fans join the Paris party
12 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
England 12-10 Australia
06 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand 18-20 France
06 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
Josh Lewsey Q&A
03 Oct 07 |  English
France 22-9 England
18 Aug 07 |  English
England 15-21 France
11 Aug 07 |  Rugby Union


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