Cueto cut for Six Nations
January 4, 2012
Mark Cueto must fight for his England spot © Getty Images
Winger Mark Cueto has confirmed he will not be part of Stuart Lancaster's England side for the upcoming Six Nations tournament.
Cueto could be one of a number of veterans to be axed from the national team when Lancaster announces his squad next week, with Nick Easter and Mike Tindall reportedly in line to receive the same fate. The Sale Sharks winger, though, insists he will fight his way back onto the international stage.
"I'm not sure if I should be saying this, but I met Stuart," Cueto told the Daily Telegraph. "Fair play, he came to Manchester and we had a long chat about everything. He honestly explained the road he's going down in terms of selection, so I know I'm not going to be part of the Six Nations. At the same time, as I said to Stuart, if England still wanted me to play I still feel I can play at that level. I feel as if I've still got a lot to give.
"Now that I know I won't be involved in the Six Nations, it's not a case of me putting my hand up and saying I'm going to retire from international rugby. For me, it's just about enjoying playing for Sale and the revival we're having, and enjoying trying to push the club back up to where we want to be.
"You don't know who is going to be in charge [after the Six Nations]. All the talk is that Stuart is going to be the interim head coach until the end of the season, then the RFU are going to appoint someone else. England are going out to South Africa in June, which will be quite a big tour, so who knows what might happen? There might be a place on that for the more senior, experienced guys," Cueto said.
Easter has also vowed to continue to pursue international rugby, despite the reported blow. "I'm still hungry to play and to fight for my place," Easter said. "I realise that there are a lot of young guys coming through but I'm confident that I've still got something to offer at the highest level.
"I wouldn't want to finish on the note that we finished on at the World Cup in New Zealand. I still want to represent my country and do the best for it. That carrot is still there."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in all the action from the weekend when rugby united behind Samoa
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton
Wales were just 13 minutes from a famous victory, but the lessons to be learned in defeat are almost exactly the same as those from previous near-misses, writes Huw Richards
Ahead of England's clash with Samoa, Scrum Sevens takes a wander down memory lane and celebrates seven examples of Pacific Islands magic