Rugby Union / Twickenham Focus: New boy proves a cut above: De Glanville scarred but not scared. Tim Glover on the England player who goes places others would not go

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ABOVE Philip de Glanville's left eye is a line the shape of a fish hook, but the great 'boot on the face' controversy is now water under the Avon bridge. 'Everything's fine,' de Glanville said. 'It's healing nicely.'

The more superficial scars between the Rugby Football Union and the New Zealand management are nearly invisible following cosmetic treatment, and it is just sod's law that 'Studs' Glanville should make the team and inadvertently remind everybody of what happened a month ago.

'It's dead and buried,' he said. What happened at Redruth is that de Glanville, playing for the South-West, was pinned at the bottom of a ruck, ended up with more stitches than a rugby ball and decided, after watching the video, that the RFU should do something about it.

There is a fine line between New Zealand rucking and raking, where anything on the ground is considered fair game, and foul play and de Glanville, through his one good eye, saw enough to convince him that his injury was not an accident. The RFU agreed - 'dangerous play, far beyond the bounds of acceptable conduct' etc - and protested in the 'strongest possible terms.'

The All Blacks had a film show, decided it was not X-certificate and did what they have always done. They kept on rucking. Rake's progress. England made noises about coaching, opening referees' eyes, using rubber studs and changing the laws. England also know which side their bread's buttered and today, with 68,000 people at Twickenham, it is New Zealand butter. 'I don't think there'll be any personal vendetta against me,' de Glanville said when he replaced the injured Jeremy Guscott. 'The All Blacks have a very professional attitude.' Vendetta against him? 'I said it with a smile,' de Glanville said.

Although de Glanville has won two caps, the All Blacks have managed to get considerably closer to him than have his international team-mates. His appearances in the white jersey with the blood-red rose have been as a replacement: about 15 minutes on the wing against South Africa last year and two minutes against Wales. He has yet to receive a pass or indeed even touch the ball. 'Let me see . . . I've put in two tackles and got involved in one maul. It's going to be a different story this time.'

This time he will not have to leave the dressing room early and sit in the stand with a bag of sweets. For the first time he will be able to listen to the captain's rallying call just before kick-off. He has played with Will Carling before, at Durham University. Any particular memories? 'None that I would care to mention.' De Glanville - he thinks the name comes from Normandy - was born in Loughborough and his rugby education started at Dulwich, progressing through Bryanston, where he played alongside David Trick, and Durham where the alumni included Chris Oti, Fran Clough and Mark Bailey. After a degree in economics and politics he went up to Oxford for a year and helped them to upset Cambridge and the odds in the 1990 University Match at Twickenham.

De Glanville, 25, had played a few games for Bath but he had to bide his time. In addition to Guscott, Bath had Simon Halliday and de Glanville's first full season with England's premier club came last year. 'I've learned a lot from all of them,' de Glanville said. 'They set such high standards. They take your ambition, mould it and help you achieve it. There are some very strong characters there, more than at any other club and you have to be mentally tough to survive.'

Physically tough, too, and de Glanville is in the Halliday mould: a fearless tackler, sometimes too reckless for his own good. 'I've got to feel as though I've contributed and I like to get involved as much as possible. Sometimes I get stuck in places where other people wouldn't go. I'm probably a bit more stupid than Jerry (Guscott).'

He took a knock on the head playing for England B in New Zealand last year and, but for a shoulder injury during England's tour of Canada in the summer, would probably have joined the Lions in New Zealand. He had been put on standby for the tour.

With his Durham degree and a diploma in social studies from Oxford, de Glanville has worked his way up to product manager with Cow & Gate at Trowbridge. His office, decorated with cuddly toys and pictures of rosy cheeked babies, looks like a nursery. The company dotes on meals and milks for toddlers. His father, Derek, a former flanker with Loughborough and Rosslyn Park, helps to build up the grown-up version. He runs a company which produces the Rhino scrum machine and England are among his clients.

The general view is that today England will play it tight. 'I think it will be more mixed than people expect,' de Glanville said. 'We will vary it and keep them guessing as much as possible.

'We have to turn our defence into offence. It will require such a committed performance from everyone. It will ask more of me than any other match. A few weeks ago I was on such a massive downer.'

He is not a man to cry over spilt milk. 'At least the RFU provoked a discussion,' de Glanville said of the Redruth aftermath.

'It was not my place to pursue it as an individual. I never considered the courts. Initially the RFU pursued it very strongly and then a little less strongly.

'I hope it's done something positive for the game.' He has had more than 50 letters from people supporting his stand. The All Blacks saw the incident as an accident but at least they saw it.

When J P R Williams had his head gashed at Bridgend during the eighth All Blacks tour, Russ Thomas, the manager, said his view of what became known as the bloody battle of Brewery Field was obscured by a post. He said he would not look at the film of John Ashworth stamping on J P R until he returned to New Zealand.

Neil Gray, the current manager, rang de Glanville. 'It was one of those accidental things,' Gray told him. 'No player would do such a thing on purpose. I'm sorry it happened and I wish you a full recovery.'

'It was good of him,' de Glanville said, 'to phone.'

(Photograph omitted)

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