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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 October, 2003, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
The injury battle begins

By Matt Dawson
England scrum-half

I'm resting up after a bit of a battering on Sunday night. I received a heavy bang on the leg and we thought it prudent at the time to come off.

It was just a precaution as I did not want to risk anything, particularly at this stage of the tournament.

Georgia were a very physical side. Of course we always knew it was going to be a hard match in that respect.

Matt Dawson in action against Georgia
Georgia were harder work for England than it looked

They were very strong in defence and they were not as disjointed as they might have looked.

They play hard, and in your face, and at times they proved very tough to break down. We only played in fits and starts. We would do well for about 15 minutes, ease off, and then play well again.

But generally, everyone is pretty happy. I suppose you have to be in scoring 12 tries in the opening game of a competition.

We certainly got a lot out the game, and it provided us with the right preparation for the big game at the weekend against South Africa.

There was a lot of stuff which came off that we would want to take on further into the competition.

It was good to work things out in a real game as we had not played for a lot of months. It was also good not to concede any tries and not let them have too much of the ball for sustained periods of time.

That was certainly a very encouraging aspect of the game and the result will put us in good spirits to face the Springboks.

I didn't see all of their game against Uruguay, but they looked fairly clinical, and my old sparring partner Joost van der Westhuizen was back to some of his best rugby.

These sort of games are what it is all about - it will be an awesome game
Looking forward to South Africa

He is a man that England will have to watch out for. Hopefully I will be fit to face him on Saturday. I have really enjoyed my battles with him in the past.

I suppose that's what the game is all about, getting the edge over your opposite number and testing yourself against the best players in the world.

Overall, South Africa looked as sharp as us and they will present no surprises. We know we are in for a very hard game.

There is going to be a tremendous atmosphere at the game. The pitch is great and the crowd will make it a tremendous occasion as befits a World Cup.

These sort of games are what it is all about. It will be awesome.

There's tremendous support for us in Perth. But on saying that, the Boks will have plenty of support with them as well. It should make for a great night.

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