On Wilkinson’s return and a new start

England’s players old and new came out of the Scotland match praising Jonny Wilkinson and the new air of unity and desire that seems to be pervading the team under Brian Ashton.

Two-try renaissance man Jason Robinson certainly cut a figure of a man basking in some fresh air afterwards, and betrayed a high level of excitement for the campaign ahead.

“In training there was a feeling that all the players wanted it,” he said.

“For me I wanted to get out there and play well in an England shirt. It has not been easy watching it but hopefully this is a new start for us.

“When you look around everyone seems to be excited by this team.”

Wing Josh Lewsey, who had a quiet match by his own standards, was a little more analytical of England’s performance, pointing at the abilities of Wilkinson and Andy Farrell to dictate the game.

“At times today it was hard but enjoyable,” he said.

“It was a good team performance and we want to build on that. Scotland were very physical.

“I thought the forwards drove very well and gave us a good platform to work from.

“When you have got a 10 and 12 combination that makes the right decisions and have the skill set to distribute the ball creatively, it gives us the platform for the rest of us to play from.”

Farrell himself only spoke of his own pride in having carried himself through his full international debut.

“The occasion was fantastic,” he said.

“Playing for your country was always going to be special but I really enjoyed it and I have got a thousand people to thank.

“The Twickenham crowd are very special and it was certainly a proud moment for me playing at the heart of England Rugby.

“The Scots were hard to grind down. They defended well, but I thought our half-backs controlled the game well.

“We stuck to our guns, we didn’t go off script. It worked well, we scored 42 points, and in the second-half most of my running was chasing Harry Ellis!”

365 Digital

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