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Sackey hopeful of England revival

By Tom Fordyce
BBC Sport in Cardiff

Paul Sackey gets to the ball first to score
Paul Sackey gets to the ball first to score one of England's tries in Cardiff

England winger Paul Sackey insists his much-criticised side are on the road to recovery despite their defeat by Wales.

Sackey scored his 11th international try in Cardiff as England pushed the Grand Slam champions hard in the second half before losing 23-15.

He said: "I think we're on the right track. We gave the Welsh a good test, and if we'd had some luck, it might have been a different story.

"If we can keep that intensity up, we should be there or thereabouts soon."

England face Ireland in Dublin in a fortnight with further question-marks over their disciplinary record.

On Saturday they played a quarter of the game a man down after Mike Tindall and Andy Goode were sin-binned by referee Jonathan Kaplan.

It was always going to be difficult for us to gel as a team in the autumn

Paul Sackey

Sackey admitted that the two yellow cards had a "massive impact" on the result at the Millennium Stadium.

He said: "It's hard enough coming down to Wales, where they're so confident at the moment - and it's even harder get a result when you're losing men every five minutes.

"It was a big ask for us anyway with 15 men, and going down to 14 made it an even bigger task.

"The commitment and the courage from the boys, playing for 14 men for long periods of the game, was very positive, but the result was very disappointing for us. If we can keep 15 men on the field, we might be able to get a result."

Sackey, one of only six survivors from England's starting XV in the corresponding fixture last year, said he believed the current team would continue to improve despite four defeats in their last five matches.

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"A lot has happened in the last year," he said. "We've got new coaches and a new team, and it was always going to be difficult for us to gel as a team in the autumn.

"It was a leveller for us as players and coaches to see where we had to get to as a team. We knew we weren't far off."



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see also
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Wales 23-15 England
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Gatland delight at Wales defence
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Six Nations as it happened
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Wales v Italy match stats
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Jeremy Guscott column
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England 36-11 Italy
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Scotland 13-26 Wales
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Review - 2008 Six Nations season
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