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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 February, 2004, 21:29 GMT
The perfect hangover remedy

By Matt Dawson
BBC Sport columnist

Our victory over Italy on Sunday was one of England's better starts to the Six Nations for a few years.

Often it takes a while for things to gel between forwards and backs at the start of a campaign.

We only had two days' preparation before Test week, so it's hats off to the coaching staff and the 15 who started that it went so well.

It did not surprise me that the so-called "World Cup hangover" failed to materialise.

England have become past masters at trying to fend off all the negative questions whenever they are successful.

Matt Dawson is tackled by Italy's Paul Griffen
Dawson saw some action as a replacement against Italy
And it was another challenge that we wanted to get right from the offset.

We knew the "hangover" query would be with us, but we were all prepared mentally and physically and we showed that.

The beauty of the England side at the moment is that there is strength in depth in pretty much every position - and it goes three or four players deep.

The likes of Martin Johnson and Jonny Wilkinson are world-class players, but we've been fortunate enough to have a host of other world-class players waiting in the wings.

There are so many leaders, and none more so than Lawrence Dallaglio.

The transfer of the captaincy was as seamless as it is going to be - no one is going to be able to fill Jonno's shoes.

Lawrence is his own man and captains his own way, but we are fortunate we've got someone like him to maintain the quality of captaincy that England expects.

I think all the guys who were called back into the team played brilliantly.

Andy Gomarsall and Paul Grayson linked very well and tactically got the game right.

Joe Worsley was very much involved in the early take-ups and dealt with the physical stuff well.

I was really pleased for Grays because he came through it with flying colours.

We are well aware of the motivation Scotland have when they play England - especially at Murrayfield

He scored a try that if anyone else, particularly Jonny, had scored it, everyone would be shouting and screaming and saying how fantastic he was.

He just took it in his stride and got on with his game.

Jason Robinson's three-try display from centre was pretty impressive too.

Whether he plays full-back, wing or centre, he reads the game so well that he finds positions where he can use his speed and agility to score tries.

We do a lot of work to get him one-on-one with the full-back or covering defence because he's always going to win.

From a personal point of view, it was great to see some action.

To be part of an England team is always very special, and I did as much as I possibly could in 20 minutes.

I'm feeling fairly well rested and looking forward to the Scotland game. Just to be involved at the moment is a big bonus.

We are very wary of the Scots.

They are a team who, when they have not performed well one week, can turn round and pull out a blinder the next.

We are well aware of the motivation that Scotland have when they play against England, especially at Murrayfield.

The media and supporters might think that on last week's performance they are not going to do well, but we don't fall for that.

England are well aware of what Scotland can do, and we will be preparing for the best Scottish performance ever.



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