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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 October, 2003, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Chomping at the bit

By Matt Dawson
England scrum-half

Matt Dawson
Dawson: Fit to face the Springboks
My big sweat is over.

For a horrible few days I thought I was going to miss one of the biggest games of my career against South Africa on Saturday night.

I obviously thought the worst when I first came off against Georgia, but I always do.

The knee was very sore early on, but the last couple of days' training have gone really well.

We are very fortunate that England have got such a great medical back-up team - everyone from doctor to physio to masseur has been fantastic.

It is not just treating injuries, but how they balance our diet with vitamins, protein, muscle-energy replacements and all the nutrition that goes with it.

Now I get a chance to pit my wits against Joost van der Westhuizen - I always get a buzz when I come up against one of the world's best.

There will naturally be a few nerves in the side, and players will be re-enforcing to each other that our performances of late have been excellent.

We are not over-confident nor arrogant - far from it

At present though, I don't feel too tense about the game. I try to be fairly calm in the run-up to a big game.

If I have done all my homework, there shouldn't be a reason to be nervous.

Because of what we have achieved in the recent past, England will go into the game with a certain amount of confidence - and with good reason too.

We have played some good rugby of late, stringing together excellent results and defeating some big teams.

If we get anywhere near to playing the type of rugby in the victory over France this summer, we are definitely in with an excellent chance of winning.

But we are not over-confident, nor arrogant - far from it.

I just can't wait to get at it.

There is so much hype over the World Cup in general and our game with the Boks in particular.

Now that it is nearly upon us, the players just want to get out onto the paddock and get on with it.



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