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Last Updated: Monday, 17 November, 2003, 07:41 GMT
Elated to be in the final

By Matt Dawson
England scrum-half

It feels fantastic to have won a World Cup semi-final.

Whatever else happens, we are always going to have that as a special night and the boys were really happy after the game.

England scrum-half Matt Dawson
Many of the England side bore the brunt of a tough game

But we know the job is not finished yet - we now have an even bigger game to look forward to.

It is going to be massive, and an enormous thrill to be involved in - it doesn't get any bigger than a World Cup final.

But for this to be a successful campaign, we know we have to win it.

That was the whole idea when we started out six weeks ago, and we have to take that extra step now.

It will be a unique, one-off occasion, and what we have done against Australia in our last few meetings is irrelevant - this will be totally different.

We saw how they beat the team people thought were the best in the world on Saturday.

They played brilliantly to beat the All Blacks.

You can't fault their defence and commitment and Stephen Larkham had a great game - he really set their team alight.

But we were a different side on Sunday to the one that played against Wales, and we needed to be.

We came close to a horrible mistake in Brisbane but it was a timely reminder of why we are here and what we are in it for.

England's pack take on their French counterparts
England's forwards were prolific on Sunday

We had a great couple of meetings last week which cleared up a few issues that needed to be addressed, and the coaches were awesome.

We were a bit fatigued before the quarter-final after all the hard training we have done.

But they gave us loads of time off last week and we really benefited from the rest.

It wasn't pretty but unfortunately the conditions stopped us from playing the way we would have wanted ideally.

In saying that, we adapted to them very well and the forwards were absolutely magnificent.

I know Jonny Wilkinson will get all the plaudits and headlines but our pack was sensational.

We got a weather forecast in the morning and it was fairly obvious it was going to rain.

So those of us in the decision-making roles had a chat and said we needed to grab the game by the scruff of the neck.

The French gave it to us early and got a bit of a freak try, but they didn't really threaten our line after that.

We have been in positions like that in big games before and learned from it.

And I think, as the result proved, we got it spot on.

I got a bit of a kick in the head and needed a few stitches but I am fine - I was not going to miss the rest of a match like that.

The French gave it to us early and got a bit of a freak try, but they didn't really threaten our line after that.

I thought we had good control for the majority of the game.

The crowd were phenomenal too and our supporters were still there an hour after the final whistle.

It would have been nice to hang around with them for a while but they understand where we are coming from.

Hopefully they will all be back again on Saturday.

That will be the time for laps of honour.





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