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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 March 2007, 12:04 GMT
Brent Cockbain Q&A
Brent Cockbain
Brent Cockbain
Wales lock

Ospreys and Lions second-row Brent Cockbain is on the Wales bench for the game with England at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

He took a break from the intense preparations to answer some of your questions.


I know you will probably have to answer this politically correctly, but how is it that Wales are constantly being put at a disadvantage by refs?
Darren Russell, 18, Ruabon

You get different standards of referees, but they're only human, they make mistakes for both sides and these things tend to even themselves out.

That's sport, if it wasn't and it was predictable we wouldn't bother watching.

Referees have probably got the hardest job in the game, trying to see everything that goes on.

Then there's the fact that people are biased and see what they want to see, and referees, like players, are under pressure going into World Cup year.

As players we just have to get on with it. Bad decisions are something we can't control, we just have to forget about it and play our own game.

Did you have any words for Chris White at the end of the game in Rome?
Barry, 28, Barry

I think that [Wales coach] Gareth Jenkins said enough, there's not much more I could have added.

The referee's decision is final, you just have to bite your tongue, accept it, get back 10 metres and get on with it.

Chris is a referee of a very high standard, that's all you can really ask for.

How frustrating was it being sat on the touchline as Wales gave away a 20-13 lead despite playing with the wind?
Pearl P, 65, Pontypridd

Yeah, it was a bit frustrating, but Italy took every opportunity they had.

We should have been a lot further ahead - there was a little knock-down from Shane Williams' pass, James Hook made a couple of good breaks - those little things change the shape of a game.

You have to be fair to the Italians, they had all the momentum in the last seven minutes of the game, took all their chances, and probably deserved the win in the end.

What did you make of Mauro Bergamasco's punch and what has been said to Stephen Jones since his injury withdrawal? How do the squad feel about the criticism Stephen has taken?
Ponty Clive, 36, Church Village

The punch, well, that's for the officials of the game to handle, things happen in the heat of the moment, I know from personal experience.

It's done now, it's a physical game and you do get injuries.

It's a big loss, though, Stephen's a world-class 10, and I think that the criticism he's taken has been unfair.

He's been an exceptional player for Wales for a long time. You have to go with experience and Stephen is a mainstay of the team, our leader and our captain.

How will Gareth Thomas' captaincy style differ from Stephen's? What will Gareth bring to the team?
Jane Edwards, 23, Newport

Gareth's a bit more hands-on than Stephen, who tends to let people have their own space and do their own thing.

Gareth's a leader up front who likes to take control, as I know from many games together with Wales and the Celtic Warriors.

He's got the experience and knows when to say things and when to shut up.

He's been around the game so long that he can judge the mood of the players. Everyone looks up to him and he's a real leader, that's for sure.

It's great to have him in there and as a fall-back captain it's a fantastic option, he can make a huge difference.

How do you think your Ospreys team-mate James Hook will handle the pressure and responsibility of starting at 10 in such a big game?
Dr Mike, 38, Wales

Yeah, he'll be fine, he's pretty unflappable. He acquitted himself very well when he started at 10 for the Ospreys in the Heineken Cup and when he came on for Wales in place of Stephen against Australia in the autumn.

He really lets his game do the talking and doesn't worry too much about it.

At the end of the day it is a game, we just run around the park and bump into people, regardless of whether there are 100,000 people watching us or 10 people watching us.

I'm sure that James will do the job against England.

Coming from Australia, when did you first realise the significance of Wales v England?
Monica, 51, Princetown

I think everyone likes to beat the English, I don't think it's purely a Welsh phenomenon!

Certainly the Australians are well-versed in beating England and like to do it, I think it's that underdog thing, with a little bit of the old Empire thrown in there...

I don't think the English mind it really, being the favourites and everyone trying to knock them off.

It's just the way sport is, it adds a bit of spice and a little bit of extra feeling to the game.

Do you think that England selecting Martin Corry at lock leaves them vulnerable in the line-out?
Rhodri James, 23, Gwynedd

Martin played well in the last game, you have to go with him.

It depends on what you want, Martyn Williams from flanker was our main line-out jumper in Italy.

If England can win their ball and they want that extra mobility, that's fine... plenty of teams have moved back-rowers to lock in the past, like Australia with Mark Connors and Matt Cockbain, my brother.

Line-outs are getting more and more complex - it's not all about height, even though Martin Corry is not short by any stretch of the imagination.

It's more about movement, doing dummies, timing, phase movements... it's a very complex part of the game.

I don't think England would do it if they felt there was any weakness there.

Will you be taking any tips from Gavin Henson on how to turn Matthew Tait into hand luggage?
Geraint Smith, 36, Bridgend

(Laughs...) No, I think I'll leave that one, I don't think there's much I can say to that!
















 

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