Shaw rues lack of respect
March 30, 2011
Shaw takes the attack to Ireland during their recent Six Nations clash in Dublin © Getty Images
England lock Simon Shaw believes a lack of respect cost his side a clean sweep in this year's Six Nations.
The 37-year-old second-row saw his Grand Slam aspirations fall at the final hurdle against Ireland earlier this month - the third time he had suffered such heartache after losing to Ireland and to Scotland before in similar circumstances - but he has backed the Six Nations champions to bounce back at this year's Rugby World Cup.
Shaw believes naivety may have led to the 24-8 defeat at Lansdowne Road but pinpointed England's failure to build on the intensity they showed in their opening victory over Wales as the major reason for coming up short in their quest for their first Slam since 2003.
"I wouldn't say we peaked against Wales but certainly against Scotland and even France we just did what we needed to do to win, but we weren't getting better," he told the Daily Telegraph.
"In order to have beaten Ireland, we really needed to have raised our game to another level from the intensity we produced in Cardiff. I still believe though that if we get that right in New Zealand, there is no reason why we can't go on to reach the final, as we did in 2007, and go one better this time."
The defeat in Dublin proved to be a disappointing end to a Championship campaign but Shaw denies the team were complacent against the Irish.
"I wouldn't suggest there was an air of over-confidence, but a lot of the guys have only played a few Six Nations games and as a competition it is like no other in terms of one-off, extraordinary games where the history and rivalries are unlike any other sport," he said.
"Passion plays a key part and there was clearly a great motivation for Ireland to spoil our party - and they came out and played unbelievably well. You can do all the training, all the planning and video analysis but ultimately nothing that you have seen in the past prepares you for what is to come. It is difficult for a team always to bring their 'A' game out, but we tend to face sides who produce their 'A' game against England.
"The two games this season when perhaps we had the favourites tag were against South Africa and Ireland - we lost both and weren't able to counteract the opposition. It is not about what you do in all your previous games, it is about paying respect to what the next opposition will bring to the game."
As for his own future, Shaw, who is in negotiations with Wasps about signing a new contract for next year, is hoping to retain his place in the England set-up for the World Cup. "I was disappointed to have started the tournament on the bench and I think I made a positive impact in all the games. Ideally that is not what I want to be doing, I want to start games," he said. "There is a huge amount of competition so I am just going to keep plugging away and try to convince the coaches that I am more of a necessity than perhaps they think."
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