Toby Flood: Johnson told us to be proud. A few points cost us that trophy

Six Nations Notebook: The tournament could have been so different. We almost won three extra games

They are never particularly happy places after a defeat, but the England dressing room at the Stade de France was especially quiet following our final Six Nations match last Saturday. We knew we'd put in a decent performance, but I think a lot of the lads felt it was a match that we could have won.

While France were worthy champions, we had pushed them all the way and came very close to denying them the Grand Slam. It was certainly good to go out there and throw the ball around a bit. We were determined to cause them problems and to express ourselves. I think the fact that they shut up shop in the second half was a reflection of the respect they had for us. The Parisian weather didn't do us any favours either, with the rain coming at the wrong time for us.

While there is inevitably disappointment with how the tournament went for us as a team, we also know that the outcome could have been very different. But for a point or two here and there we could have beaten Ireland, Scotland and France.

Martin Johnson never says a lot in the immediate aftermath of a match, but he told us that we should be happy and proud of the way we had performed. Within half an hour of the finish I think most of us were in a more positive frame of mind.

People say that France look the best of the northern hemisphere teams as the next Rugby World Cup approaches, but there's a lot of rugby to be played and things can change quickly. It wasn't so long ago that people were questioning the direction in which France were heading.

On a personal level I thought I did OK on Saturday. The best thing was that I enjoyed the occasion. I used to get very nervous playing for England, but as time's gone on that's changed. I always try to go into a match in a relaxed frame of mind and I think that helps my game.

Now it's back to club rugby with Leicester Tigers. We're playing at Worcester on Saturday. It's bottom versus top, but we know it won't be easy as they're desperate for the points to avoid relegation. The season has a way to go yet.

Dan's singing won't trouble the charts but it amused me

My off-the-field highlight of the Six Nations had to be my Leicester team mate Dan Cole's performance on the bus following the win over Wales. It's a little tradition that new caps have to sing a song to everyone else after the match. Dan's a great guy but he's quite shy and I think he was dreading having to do his turn in front of all the players, not to mention the wives and girlfriends. He got plenty of stick but he did pretty well with his rendition of "Stand By Me", though I don't think he'll be offered a recording contract quite yet. Another of my club colleagues, Ben Youngs, had to go through the same initiation, but as this is a family newspaper I don't think it would be right for me to reveal his choice of song.

Toby Flood and The Independent are supporting RBS RugbyForce, the scheme that can help your club to improve its facilities. To register for the RBS RugbyForce weekend on 5-6 June, visit www.rbs6nations.com/rugbyforce

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?