Catt insists England are ready to bounce back
January 28, 2007
England veteran Mike Catt insists his team are ready to consign their dismal 2006 season to history by making a flying start to their Six Nations campaign against Scotland next weekend.
Catt believes the national squad has taken on a new lease of life under new coach Brian Ashton and says a new era of tactical freedom ought to start paying rich dividends.
World Cup winner Catt, who has been capped 67 times by England, told BBC Five Live's Sportsweek: ``There is a lot of talent in that England side and it is just about finding a way to let that talent out.
``It has been very subdued and conservative over the last six months and it is vital we go out and express ourselves. England definitely have the players to do it but we need to concentrate on one game at a time and gel as a team rather than individuals.
``Brian is under no illusions. He has given us the freedom of the pitch and he basically just wants us to go out there and play now.''
And Catt is convinced one of the keys to England's chances of success remains in the boot of Jonny Wilkinson, who tentatively stepped up his latest comeback this weekend.
Wilkinson made a successful substitute appearance in Newcastle's defeat at Leicester and Catt said: ``He has come through so he is capable of playing an international match.
``Jonny was in fine form and he is a lot more relaxed than he was three or four years ago. He is showing his views, encouraging the guys and I think it is vital you have that in the team because he has got so much experience.
Referring to last week's three-day coaching session with Ashton, Catt added: ``This is the first time I have been around an England set-up for a long time and there were a lot of smiling faces. The guys were absolutely buzzing and I thought it was a fantastic three days.''
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown