I forgot my kicking boots

Paul Grayson, England's stand-off, reflects on a far from perfect performance
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The Independent Online
LET'S deal with the bottom line first. We beat Wales and the Triple Crown is still very much on. However, our performancewas far from perfect. The mood in the changing room afterwards was very quiet. We were frustrated we did not do better.

But we were also positive. Had I had my kicking boots on you could add 12 points to our score and it would have been a convincing victory. As it was we were never in danger of losing.

Four successes from nine kicks at goal is below what I expect from myself. Some of them were very kickable but I didn't strike the ball cleanly. You have got to get the right mental state and I wasn't quite there. Maybe it was because we were never fighting for our lives. We were always in a position to win, even when five points down early on. Despite missing three kicks I knew we were capable of scoring tries.

After the game Jack Rowell told us to keep our chins up. Sure there were failings in our performance but we are still in a transitional period and we must appreciate that there are going to be mistakes along the way. The more risks you take the greater the chance of error.

But had we lost I would have felt responsible, for sure. I missed touches, missed kicks at goal and I accept my performance was below average. But ultimately when it really mattered I pulled myself together and knocked over a couple of crucial penalties. That was good for me. My opposite number Arwel Thomas did well and deserves a lot of credit. But he was in a no-lose situation and we know we should never have turned our backs on the penalty which he turned into a try.

Then again, Justin Thomas will know he should never have delayed his clearance kick so long, with Jerry Guscott, after-burners blazing, bearing down on him.

There were definite signs that we have expanded our game. A great deal of it hasn't gone quite right but we did enough did to beat Wales and, right now, that's what matters most.

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