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Last Updated: Friday, 21 November, 2003, 09:38 GMT
Ballet before battle

By Matt Dawson
England scrum-half

People keep asking me how it feels to be on the verge of creating English sporting history, but I can't answer that at the moment.

We have not thought about what happens if we win, or what goes with it. That is a dangerous mindset to get into.

Photographers try and get the best shot at an England training session
The media spotlight on England this week has been intense
I am just concentrating on the process at the moment rather than the result.

It was a great feeling to win the semi-final last weekend but we are in unknown territory now.

This team is massively experienced but apart from Jason Leonard, none of us have played in a World Cup final before.

It is a huge game to contemplate but we are just trying to think about it in those terms - as a game of rugby and nothing else.

You would like to treat it like any other game, but with everything that has been going on this week, we know it is a bit different.

There are hordes of people around, and the media are constantly waiting for us every time we step outside our hotel.

We have even had binoculars peering at us in our hotel rooms.

It all makes you realise this is a pretty huge event and it is hard not to feel nervous.

It is important my mind is as clear as it can be for the biggest game of my life

Those nerves will build as kick-off approaches but at least I have managed to get a break from it all.

My girlfriend, Joanne, came out on Thursday and we spent a really nice day chilling out, not doing anything connected with rugby.

We got out of town away from our base here in Manly, then went to the ballet in Sydney in the evening.

It was a trilogy - a combination of contemporary, classical and abstract - and very modern. It was excellent.

Having done all the hard work, the time before kick-off on Saturday is a case of taking it easy, eating, resting and sleeping.

It is important to use the time wisely and not get tuned in too early. I like to put my feet up and watch a couple of films.

But I will also be going through my final preparations, with a lot of mental games, going through different strategies.

It is important my mind is as clear as it can be for the biggest game of my life.





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