Toby Flood: Time to prove we can swim with the really big fish

Inside the Camp

The England squad survived shark diving on Wednesday, now we have got to find a way of dealing with the Australians in Sydney today and making up for the disappointment of last weekend.

We came face to face with three-metre long jagged teeth sharks in Manly Aquarium which was an amazing experience and actually rounded off a pretty good week on the training field.

We have got last Saturday out of our system. We didn't give a good account of ourselves and on Monday and Tuesday had a good set of meetings and reviews to sort out what went wrong. When a game is reviewed anyone can have a say. The coaches and senior players talk the most, but giving everyone the opportunity to stand up and voice their opinion is something that Martin Johnson encourages. He wants everyone to have the freedom to talk – to foster an atmosphere that everybody is in this together.

In Perth we did not work together – backs and forwards – as a cohesive unit and became too narrow minded, one-track minded in fact. It began badly as we let them dictate the early play. They had all the early momentum and possession and we were missing tackles and making mistakes. If you are attacking non-stop for the first 30 or so minutes as they were, it feels great. If you are defending – as we were – it feels like an age. It was tougher.

Matt Giteau's return for Australia just adds more strength to their backline. It is an excellent line-up but having said that I really don't think there is a cultural difference in the way we play in the UK and the way they play down here. It is more down to circumstances.

Rugby is a winter game – winter down here in Sydney is blue skies and warm days. Winter at home is wet, cold and windy. Playing in sleet and snow does not encourage free-flowing rugby by any stretch of the imagination. At the end of the season back home, when the grounds get harder, there is more running rugby. Perhaps it is more conditions than culture.

But in Sydney today we will not shy away from our advantage up front because of what happened last week. This is international rugby – if you have an advantage you use it, you would be foolish not to, but we need to be smarter in the way we play, and we have to get some good early ball unlike the first Test.

It was so disappointing in Perth because we do have a chance of winning over here. It really hurt, both personally and as a team, that we did not perform. The team did not get into a rhythm until too late, and neither did I. I felt that there was a lot more I could have done. As the No 10 you are aware of your responsibilities and the expectation that surrounds the position, but tomorrow will be my 31st cap so I am accustomed to it by now.

Johnno is also well used to all of this and, as a player, he gives you no idea of any pressure he may be under. He could carry the weight of the world on his shoulders and not let on. He has not changed one bit in training.

Ben Youngs, my room-mate and club-mate, deserves his chance at No 9. He was our player of the season at Leicester and had a great year. We know each other inside out and I know how he is going to behave on the pitch. He will not be affected by nerves at all. He's been a pretty good room-mate too – doesn't stay up too late, and doesn't snore!

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Suggested Topics
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

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy