Toby Flood: Against Australia we really opened the game up. It was pretty special stuff

It's not too difficult for the players in the England squad to keep our feet on the ground about our win against Australia in the second of our autumn Investec internationals at Twickenham last Saturday.

Of course, we managed to really open the game up for the second of Chris Ashton's tries. It was pretty special stuff, right down to a man. The guys really had to put their backs to the wall defending attack after attack on our goalline for two or three minutes before we made the good decision to smother them and managed to turn the ball over.

Beyond that, Ben Youngs ran with the ball when the easy option would have been to kick it and what Courtney Lawes did from there was huge – in terms of carrying the ball and offloading it when he did. Not many second-rows would have chosen to pass in their own 22. All Chris did was run 90m. It was one of the best tries I've seen in a long time.

From a personal point of view, I kicked 25 points, which just happened to break the individual record in a match between England and Australia, which was held jointly by Jonny Wilkinson and Matt Burke. I played with both of them at Newcastle, and I rate them hugely. Matt was one of those players who always looked steady and then suddenly he would do something special and make it look very, very easy.

Of course, I'm pleased to have kicked those points. That's part and parcel of what I'm in the team for. That's my job.

There are going to be some days when you don't land nine out of nine; you're going to miss a couple. But last Saturday I managed to get them all and I'm pretty pleased about that.

All the guys are well-grounded individuals and for us it wasn't necessarily a massive stand-out performance against Australia. It was more a case of getting the job done than anything else.

I think we see it as a big tick in the box, for sure. And obviously we played some of the best stuff we've played in a while. But in terms of our evolution, it's something that we've been pushing towards for a while. We played some nice stuff in parts in the second Test against Australia in Sydney in June. We started slowly against New Zealand a fortnight ago but played some nice stuff in that game too.

It's important for us to keep our foot on the pedal in terms of playing like that. I don't think anyone will have their heads in the clouds this week, with Samoa to play at Twickenham tomorrow. It's a massive game in every respect – in terms of what we're about and how we go forward – and our concentration will need to be spot on. We're fully aware of the challenge that comes with playing against Samoa. It's a hell of a physical battle, coupled with the fact that they have got some stand-out players in their team.

We know what these guys are all about. A lot of them are brought into Aviva Premiership clubs and French clubs because they can turn a game in an instant. A great example would be my club-mate at Leicester Tigers, Alesana Tuilagi, when he scored that try against Gloucester in the Premiership semi-final two years ago. It turned the game on its head.

It's the same with Seilala Mapasua, the London Irish centre. These are big guys who can pull off some exceptional offloads both through the contact and before the contact. They're pretty special players.

We've got big Matt Banahan playing in the centre this week. We've got to use him as best we can because he's got a massively important skill set for us in terms of what he's capable of doing – how he carries the ball, how he offloads in the tackle.

He's only five caps in. I think you've got to remember that. But he has certainly got the potential to really open a game up with his ability through the tackle and beyond the tackle.

All this Ashes talk reminds me of my days as a slogger

There is another sporting contest against Australia looming on the horizon, of course. I did play a bit of cricket in my youth, for Northumberland under-14s or under-15s, I can't quite remember which. It was nothing too exciting but I do love playing cricket.

Actually, I played a bit in the summer just gone, for my local club in Leicestershire, the Langtons. That was good fun. I had a few 20-over games with them. I was also lucky enough to get to use the bowling machine and sent Dan Cole out to bat. I put it up to 99mph and sent a couple down. It was good fun to watch him run out of the way.

Dan doesn't play the game. He's not the cricketing type. To be honest, it's not something that I'm technically very good at. I like to slog the ball as far as possible. That's probably the best way to describe it. I don't like running, so boundaries are pretty much what I try and deal in. Not that I get them that often. Normally I get caught out.

A few of the Leicester boys play. The Kiwis play at Kibworth. It's just good fun to go. It's something so completely different to have a bit of a craic with people that you don't normally deal with. They're a good bunch of guys at the Langtons.

I think the people at the Tigers realise it's important in the summer months for us to have a few knockarounds, because you can go a bit stir crazy playing rugby all of the time. It's pretty good to have a smash, although gone are the days of dual-code players.

Dusty Hare played cricket for Nottinghamshire and rugby for England. And Alastair Hignell played county cricket for Gloucestershire and rugby for England. I remember talking to him about it. He is certainly a pretty talented all-round guy.

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits