What if England followed its victory over wales with a win against Italy? What if its winning streak continued and they pulled off an RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam? What if you could be there to watch it happen?
Earlier this week I managed to get behind the scenes at the filming of the latest episode of O2 Inside Line. And what better time to snatch a few minutes with two of England’s finest, Dan Cole and Friday night’s man of the match, Toby Flood.
Cole described the mood in the team following Friday’s win as “buoyant” even if everyone was pretty “knackered”. The focus though is very much about Italy and then the rest of the Six Nations as Cole himself explains “although we won in Wales, if we lose this weekend, it kind of makes the win pointless”.
That sets us up for a stormer on Saturday then. Good thing we’ve got two tickets for you lucky readers, eh. Find out more below.
Humbler than he needs to be, Toby Flood believes he’s one of six or seven players who could have taken the man of the match last Friday. Don’t think he’s not pleased, “of course it’s nice, because I like to help the team out as much as possible, but ultimately it comes down to 15 guys”.
Although Cole says the team were happy to win on Friday, the focus is all on the next outing against Italy. Neither player would be drawn on anything beyond the next match or beyond the Six Nations, as Flood explains “it sounds pretty boring, but no one wants to look at the next World Cup because we’re just looking to play well in these games and hopefully win a title”.
This focus speaks volumes of the squad. Austin Healey, presenter of O2’s Inside line show puts it down to “the environment and culture that’s been put in place by Martin Johnson and his coaching staff, it’s really positive and you can feel there’s more energy here”.
That focus will be key in seeing a positive result on Saturday. But of course, the fans have a big part to play as well. As Healey himself advises “the message to fans is keep supporting, keep turning up and enjoy watching England play. That’s been the difference.”
Now, we know you don’t need any encouragement to find yourself soaking up the atmosphere of Twickenham ready to watch Cole, Flood and the rest of the England squad march onto the pitch. But what if you can’t get tickets? Well, we might have a solution for you. We found out who in O2 is holding the last couple of spares for Saturday’s match. So we went and did a bit of strong-arming, sending our biggest, scariest editors who (politely) acquired two tickets for Saturday’s game.
And we don’t plan to use them ourselves, either. Oh, no. These tickets are for two of you lucky readers (or one lucky reader and their best friend/brother/father/wife/girfriend/boyfriend/husband – in that order). To bag ’em, just answer the following question correctly and email it together with your name, address and phone number to the email address below. First name out of the bag (inbox) gets the tickets. The referee’s decision will be final. There will be no video ref. But we might use a couple of linesmen to keep things fair.
How many penalties did Toby Flood score against Wales in the 2011 RBS 6 Nations opening match?
Email the correct answer along with your name and address to email@example.com
As Flood himself told us this week winning this competition is “about making big decisions and doing the core things right”. Okay, so he might have been talking about holding the scrums and making sure the team defends properly. But for you, it’s about doing a bit of research (if you don’t know already) finding the right answer, getting clearance from HQ and sending that email. You too could be man (or woman) of the match. In a very different sense, of course.
Terms and conditions apply. We won’t be stuffing your email into a database anywhere, once we’ve picked the winner we’ll delete the rest. Tickets won’t be transferrable so make sure you’ve got the freedom pass from your other half if you want to go. Unless you plan on bringing your other half, that is. You probably won’t need one then.
To get the inside scoop on the squad, as well as fun features, match analysis and up to the minute player interviews with presenters Austin Healey and Abi Griffiths, sign up for alerts and watch O2 Inside Line on RFU TV at www.o2insideline.com”
Photo by mualphachi