Ex-England captain Martin Corry was in a confident mood when talking ahead of the England’s biggest match yet in this year’s Six Nations campaign. Dismissing Lievremont’s comments on the French opinion of the English as “not exactly the biggest shock in world rugby”, Corry argued that his claim of the English being almost too proud was not accurate enough; if anything the former Leicester number 8 wants to see more of it.
Corry said, “Lievremont commented about being insular and draping ourselves in the national flag, but I can’t see what’s wrong with being proud. If anything we don’t do it enough. I want the team to take it to them on Saturday and let’s show him what being proud is all about.”
Corry though did urge caution regarding Saturday’s match, and pointed to areas that he felt would be key to England’s chances. “It’s going to be all about the basics, and that starts with the set-piece. In the scrum Dan Cole didn’t have the best of times against France last year but he has come on leaps and bounds since then, and I’m looking for him to really take them on. In the lineout the selection of Chabal ahead of Julien Bonnaire may have just played into England’s hands”.
Corry also gave special importance to the defence. “People talk about England’s attacking threat but this weekend will be all about how England defend. England need to stop the likes of Harinordoquy and Jauzion and prevent them from offloading out of the tackle.”
As a proud back row forward, Corry dutifully stuck to the forward’s union and picked lock Tom Palmer out as the most impressive player in England’s first two matches in the campaign. Corry admitted that he had not always been a fan of the English second row, but felt that he had really “stepped up to the plate at international level and showed a physical side that he now needs to maintain”. Corry also reserved special praise for Tom Wood, who will start only his third game for England at the weekend. “I’ve been really impressed. There’s nothing flash about him, he just gets on with this job. He’s got a great future ahead of him.”
When pressed on England’s chances in the game against France and beyond, Corry was bullish; “Yes, easy question, I can’t see them not winning” and in terms of the Grand Slam, “I’ve actually had to revise my prediction of them not taking the Slam as I previously felt that they couldn’t. But now they really need to show a mental toughness. They’ve shown that they can attack and score tries, but here’s where the mental attitude really matters”.
Corry remarked on Lievremont’s words with the true passion and spirit that befits a former England captain. And if England can play with the same determination, pride and confidence shown by Corry, and combine that with their natural energy and pace, then Saturday’s match could really ignite.
By Tom James
Martin Corry was speaking on behalf of GUINNESS, Official Beer Partner of the RBS 6 Nations. For exclusive rugby content go to www.facebook.com/guinnessgb