Every Thursday we're given a choice of three different restaurants to chose from – yesterday myself, Lewis Moody and some of the front-row guys, Alex Corbisiero, David Wilson and Matt Stevens, went for sushi. It was a nice change of pace after the intensity of training this week.
It has gone well on the training field as we look to cut out the errors that dogged us against Georgia. The guys who have been here and done it, won the World Cup – Jonny Wilkinson, Steve Thompson and of course Martin Johnson – have underlined what we have to do to stay in the tournament deep into the later stages. But we all know where we have to improve and the mood is very upbeat. We have to go out and make a point against Romania, win the game and then get straight into the build-up for the following weekend's crunch game with Scotland.
The team for Romania was announced yesterday but you have a pretty good idea from training whether you're going to be in the starting XV well before one of the coaches pulls you aside to tell you the good or bad news. It's only natural to feel a bit down when you haven't got the nod – everyone wants to play every game – but it's also something you have to learn to deal with as a professional sportsman. As the injury to Nick Easter showed, you can never tell when you might be called on so it's down to every player to be ready to play. And as a member of the squad you also owe it to the team to support them in every area of preparation.
It was awesome to score my first tries for England against Georgia. To play a first game in the World Cup and score twice was special even if there was overall frustration in how we played on the night. We knew it was going to be a tough, physical game – guys like Jonny and James Haskell had played against many of the Georgians in the French league and so were well aware of their physicality.
We scored six tries and took a bonus point but were not happy with the standard of our rugby. There were too many errors. There were times when we were trying too much, making silly offloads. We need to be more clinical, finish off moves in the red zone and stop trying to score from distance.
Out here from the first kick-off the locals have been expecting a New Zealand v Australia final. They were really shocked that the Aussies lost to Ireland but it did not come as a surprise to us as we know what the Irish are capable of. The All Blacks have impressed though. They have played well and there is no escaping them over here. Every time you turn on the TV they're on, whether it's a replay of their games or reports from the training camps or analysis on the games. The pressure on them is huge, but then there is just as much pressure on us and the other major nations and the next few weeks will see who copes best with it.
Talking of TV, it provided one of the week's highlights for myself and Corbisiero. When we're not training it is not always easy to pass the time without getting bored. The time difference doesn't help either when it comes to video-calling the family back home. Then there are only so many films you can watch, games to play etc, so different guys find different ways to entertain themselves.
One night in Queenstown where we were staying in an apartment hotel, Alex and I passed the time by wandering outside the players' cabins armed with a remote turning on or off the other guys' TVs – it left Ben Foden and Lee Mears pretty confused until we told them at breakfast the next morning, although of course they claimed they knew all along.
David Wilson ended up behind his TV trying to work out why it kept going back on every time he went upstairs to bed. When he stood up Alex jumped out of the darkness up to his window. He nearly went through the roof. It kept us amused!Reuse content