- 6 Feb 07, 12:54 PM
We’ve all seen the headlines - “Jonny B God”, “Return of the Hero” and “King of Sporting Comebacks”.
But as the focus now drifts to Italy this weekend, and perhaps more importantly the crunch Croke Park clash with Ireland on 24 February, I would like to look at four other areas that give England reasons to be cheerful.
The gutsy display of Leicester number eight Martin Corry showed that losing the captaincy could see him return to the kind form he displayed on the 2001 Lions tour to Australia.
Corry was retained in the team to take on Scotland so was unable to slip quietly back to the Midlands to hide and sulk, instead he had to front up at a packed Twickenham and did so with relish.
Mike Tindall looked a different player after his switch to outside centre (and possibly by the change in head coach) and punched holes in Scotland’s defence in a way that was so lacking last year.
With all due respect, Scotland’s midfield is not the greatest in world rugby but Tindall’s display is a start and any sign of life in the back line following last year’s dirge is something to revel in.
In Magnus Lund, England have a genuine open-side and the 23-year-old can make the number seven shirt his own ahead of the World Cup.
Lund, the son of Norwegian basketball player Morten, brings balance to the back row and showed against Scotland the kind of work-rate that helped Sale to the Premiership title last year. (He led England’s tackle count against Scotland with 11)
There have been many words written about scrum-half Harry Ellis but his eye-catching display deserved it so there is no harm in mentioning him again.
Ellis was a constant threat with his sniping and seemed a man determined to prove his worth after falling out of favour following last year’s Six Nations.
The 24-year-old is the first choice for the number nine jersey and if he maintains his current form, Shaun Perry and Peter Richards face an uphill struggle to get back into the side.
Let me know what you think and feel free to mention some of the other names that could have also been included (Vickery, Worsley and Farrell come to mind).