Corry: England must raise the bar

Captain Martin Corry has urged England to keep raising the bar after an excellent victory over Wales, insisting: "We won't settle for average performances." [more]

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Captain Martin Corry has urged England to keep raising the bar after an excellent victory over Wales, insisting: "We won’t settle for average performances."

There was nothing remotely ordinary about England’s second-half display as they registered 29 unanswered points following Wales flanker Martyn Williams’ lunge on his opposite number Lewis Moody that saw him packed off to the sin-bin.

But Corry knows his team’s Six Nations campaign will be defined by a month of games on the road, starting against Italy in Rome next Saturday, followed by Scotland at Murrayfield before facing a possible title showdown with France.

England under-achieved during the last two Six Nations seasons, winning just half of their 10 Tests, but they blasted from the blocks this time around and left reigning Grand Slam champions Wales wincing after suffering fresh Twickenham torture.

They haven’t won at English rugby headquarters since 1988 – a record run of nine successive away defeats that eclipsed England’s dominance in the fixture between 1910 and 1929.

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Yet while an injury-ravaged, suspension-hit Wales squad set about rebuilding their season, England are up and running in pursuit of European rugby’s ultimate prize, a trophy that has eluded them since the 2003 Grand Slam triumph.
We have shown our improvement at Twickenham, and we’ve built a very strong team philosophy at Twickenham," said Corry, who defied a rib injury to produce an impressive 65-minute display before making way for superstar substitute Lawrence Dallaglio.

"Now, it is of major importance we take what we can do at Twickenham and put it on the road.

"Let’s put pressure on ourselves. That is a real test of the side, to be able to turn in performances on the road.

"We are currently ranked fifth in the world, but we are looking up and building a head of steam.

"We are not trying to kid ourselves that we are better than we are.

"I felt we showed, maybe not another dimension, but certainly an improvement and a more complete game to what we showed in the autumn.

"We are always looking to put ourselves under pressure. The pressure in the camp is an important thing, and the great thing about the squad we have got is that we won’t settle for average performances – we will push ourselves," he added.

"This was not the complete performance, it was a step up, but there is so much more this squad can give.

"This is the most competitive Six Nations for years. We saw how Italy did against Ireland, and I think Ireland will be a real force this year. We are not going into these games thinking we have won them already, we know how tough they are going to be."

By the time of Dallaglio’s second-half arrival – he made a fleeting temporary appearance early on while a bloodied Joe Worsley received treatment – England were moving effortlessly through the gears.

Wing Mark Cueto – his 10th try in just 12 Tests – flanker Lewis Moody and centre Mike Tindall had already scored to keep Wales at a safe distance, but Wasps trio Dallaglio, Matt Dawson and Tom Voyce featured off the bench and kept England buzzing with further
touchdowns during 12 minutes of mayhem.

It was Dallaglio’s first England appearance since "retiring" from Test rugby 17 months ago, and he put himself in the frame for a starting berth at Stadio Flaminio next Saturday.

"I would never take myself off, but sometimes I might play myself at fly-half!" added Corry.

"These things are not up to me. I haven’t got an ego to support, it is whatever is best for the team, and Andy Robinson (England head coach) felt that was the right move.

"Scoring the late tries came from the hard work we were doing earlier on in the game. I don’t care who scores the tries, as long as they get scored.

"We won the game six tries to one, and what happened in the second-half was the fruit of the performance in the first. Fair play to all the bench, they all had a massive impact.

"Lol is a quality player, and he had a quality game when he came on. As captain of England, I am very, very content with how we played."

The victory easily maintained England’s 36 points-a-game average against Wales at Twickenham during the past 18 years.

Fly-half Charlie Hodgson slotted three penalties and two conversions – he passed 200 points in Tests and moved sixth on England’s all-time list – while substitute Andy Goode slotted two conversions, and although Wales managed a clever try from Williams, created by their best player Dwayne Peel, they finished a distant second best.

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