Corry calls on crowd to drown out Oliver's jibe

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The Independent Online

Martin Corry is used to putting his body on the line for club and country, now it would appear he is prepared to put his neck on the block.

In many people's eyes, including New Zealand's, England start as the underdogs in the opening autumn Test against the All Blacks at Twickenham on Sunday, but yesterday the captain Corry insisted: "We are going out there to win.

"That is what we intend to do. This is England playing in front of a packed house at Twickenham. We don't just want to play for England, we want to play for a winning England."

And what is more Corry, who starts on the blindside flank but intimated that he could switch roles with the No 8 Pat Sanderson at certain points in the match, reckons the public share the players' view. "The public expectation should be for an English victory."

The Twickenham crowd, labelled arrogant by the All Blacks hooker Anton Oliver earlier in the week, certainly have Corry's backing.

"That is not the English crowd I know," said Corry, referring to Oliver's criticism. "I hope there will be 82,000 people at Twickenham desperate to prove him wrong."

The captain added: "New Zealand are the best in the world. We know it is going to take a very special effort for us to win because we are playing a very good side. But they are where we want to be and to get there we need to play against the best."

This will be his 11th match in charge - his record currently reads, played 10, won six, lost four, with the last three of those defeats coming in last season's Six Nations tournament.

Corry had wanted to go to Australia for the two-Test series last summer, but the England management ordered him to stay at home to rest his battered body.

Of course that threw into question his role as captain, a position he described yesterday as: "The biggest honour that can be given to an England rugby player."

There was no guarantee of it being a shoo-in. "Nothing was set in stone," said Corry, "especially after I didn't go on tour to Australia. I had to start the season and show some form, play well for Leicester.

"That was the most important thing for me to do, then hopefully I would win back my place in the England set-up. And that is exactly how I would choose to have it. I wouldn't want any long-term promises given to me, you've got to keep proving you are worthy of your place, especially with the amount of competition that we now have in this England squad."