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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 November, 2003, 12:52 GMT
Five-star Lewsey in dreamland

By Bryn Palmer
BBC Sport in Brisbane

It was appropriate Jason Robinson should be the one to inform Josh Lewsey he had just equalled England's individual try record.

Robinson was the last Englishman to rack up five tries in a match, a quick-fire quintet for the British Lions a few hours further up the coast from here.

Josh Lewsey equalled Rory Underwood's individual England try-scoring record
His own feat came in a 90-point drubbing of a Queensland President's XV in Townsville, a prelude to the fireworks he let off during the 2001 Test series against the Wallabies.

Lewsey, meanwhile, equalled Rory Underwood's England record against Fiji at Twickenham in 1989 with his own five-card trick in the 111-13 demolition of Uruguay.

The record books show that Dan Lambert, a Harlequins wing who later died serving in the First World War, also notched five against France at Richmond in 1907.

In World Cup terms, Lewsey's moment has only been bettered by the six tries Marc Ellis scored in the All Blacks' 145-17 demolition of Japan in 1995.

England's record World Cup winning margin of 98 points also came in the same stadium where they had slumped to their record defeat, the 76-0 humiliation against Australia in 1998.

Lewsey made his debut on that infamous 'Tour of Hell', and while admitting Sunday's effort was "the stuff boyhood dreams are made of", the 26-year-old retained an admirable sense of perspective.

We are fully aware Uruguay are not Wales or New Zealand
England's Josh Lewsey

"I didn't score against Georgia, so it was nice to score some tries," he said afterwards.

"But the way the back three play is indicative of the rest of the team as a whole.

"The forwards provided us with ball on the front foot, the midfield had a very good game and that gave us a bit of time and space to show what we are capable of.

"But we are fully aware Uruguay are not Wales or New Zealand."

Strange to relate, considering his impressive form since bursting into the side with a brace of tries against Italy in March, that Lewsey's place was subject to conjecture beforehand.

The reason? Iain Balshaw's re-emergence as a player of thrilling scope and speed.

With Ben Cohen and Robinson seemingly immovable fixtures in the England back three, Lewsey was considered the one player Clive Woodward might sacrifice for Balshaw's own brand of brilliance.

It was much in evidence during his cruelly curtailed outing against Uruguay, some of his instinctive running reminiscent of his captivating form of 2001.

Coincidentally, Mike Catt was the instigator of much of Balshaw's form then, and the Bath midfielder again added a creative edge with his long cut-out passes.

Balshaw's dancing feet and blistering acceleration brought him two tries in as many minutes, a memorable soft-shoe shuffle for his second transfixing Uruguayan wing Jose Viana before accelerating away to the line.

He also played a major role in a wonderful fifth try finished by Catt, twice combining with Lewsey in a memorable counter-attack after Andy Gomarsall's quick line-out throw.

Unfortunately for Balshaw and the crowd, his night ended prematurely.

But for Lewsey, Robinson and company, the tries kept coming as the deluge rained down on Uruguay.

England supporters will hope they have plenty more in the locker for the tougher tests to come.





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