New kid on the block
August 11, 2011
Like Tuilagi - Jerry Guscott marked his England debut with a try © Getty Images
England's latest sensation Manu Tuilagi marked his much-anticipated international debut with a try against Wales on Saturday.
In doing so, the Leicester centre followed in a long line of players who have marked their first Test match appearance for England by crossing the whitewash. In tribute to Tuilagi's effort, this week's Scrum Sevens looks at some of the other England players who kicked off their international careers in fine style.
Cohen made his debut in the inaugural Six Nations tournament back in 2000 in England's clash against Ireland - where he was joined by fellow debutants Iain Balshaw and Mike Tindall. England ran out resounding winners with Cohen running in two tries on the day - a feat matched by Austin Healey. Neil Back and Tindall also got in on the action.
While Tindall looks set to play a key part in England's campaign for the 2011 World Cup - Cohen last lined up for the international side back in 2006 in South Africa. The winger continued to ply his trade for the Northampton Saints, but in 2007 he left the Saints after being overlooked for the captaincy in favour of Bruce Reihana.
Journeying over the Channel to Brive, Cohen lined up alongside fellow World Cup winner Steve Thompson before returning to the Premiership with Sale in 2009. At the end of the 2010-11 season - with Sale seemingly unwillingly to rewards the 57-cap winger with a new contract - Cohen announced his retirement from the game and is now involved with tackling homophobia in sport.
Cueto, who looks set to travel to the 2011 World Cup with England, began his stint in the red rose jersey with a two-try haul in a rout of Canada. England ran in 12 tries against a beleaguered Canucks outfit with Jason Robinson running in a hat-trick while Cueto's double was matched by Josh Lewsey. Cueto was joined by three other debutants on the day - Andrew Sheridan, Andy Hazell and Hugh Vyvyan - who have enjoyed mixed success on the international stage in the years since.
Cueto, who has earned 52 caps to date, thought he had potentially won the William Webb Ellis Cup for England in 2007 but his effort against South Africa in the tournament finale was controversially ruled out by Television Match Official Stuart Dickinson.
The Sale winger, who recently endured a run of 19 international games without a try, featured in all of England's 2011 Six Nations games and will hope to be part of Martin Johnson's 30-man squad for this year's World Cup.
Duckham made his mark for England - playing at inside centre - with a try in his debut against Ireland in their Five Nations clash at Lansdowne Road. Despite Duckham's try it was not enough for England to win - the visitors eventually going down 17-15.
Playing his entire club career for local side Coventry, from 1967-1979, Duckham made a huge impact on the 1971 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand where he scored 11 tries in 16 appearances - including three Tests caps. The winger equalled JJ Williams' record of six tries in a Lions jersey with a huge haul against West Coast/Buller in a midweek clash.
Duckham's try scoring record for England - 10 in 36 Test - would have been far more substantial had his team-mates managed to get the ball to him more often - receiving on average just three passes a match. However, his career will be remembered for his devastating sidestep which led former Wales captain Mervyn Davies to comment, "You could see it coming but it still left you stranded."
Scrum-half Gomarsall marked his England debut with a try against Italy during an autumn international clash fifteen years ago. England decided to blood a host of debutants in the match with Adedayo Adebayo, Phil Greening, Rob Hardwick, Simon Shaw, Chris Sheasby and Tim Stimpson all donning the red rose for the first time. And against a side which included the prolific Diego Dominguez - Gomarsall managed to cross the white-wash on two occasions.
Gomarsall went onto accrue more clubs than your average golf bag, lining up for Bath, Bedford Blues, Gloucester, Harlequins, Leeds Carnegie, London Wasps and Worcester Warriors over the course of a 17-year career. Gomarsall's international career spanned 12 years - during which time he accumulated 35 caps and appeared in a World Cup Final in 2007 - with his last outing coming against the same side he debuted against.
Despite outside-centre Guscott bagging a hat-trick on his debut and Chris Oti running in four tries - England's dominance over their Romanian counterparts can be perhaps best illustrated through the fact that prop Jeff Probyn crossed the line for one of his eventual three Test tries. Guscott was joined by fellow debutants Steve Bates and Simon Hodgkinson.
Guscott later reflected on the match in his autobiography saying "Ah, the fame. The adulation. The recognition. It all goes with the England territory and is what makes the hard work worthwhile. I had scored a hat-trick and now the world had to come to worship at the feet of the new genius. Which is why our coach, Roger Uttley, spent twenty minutes at the post-match reception in Bucharest telling my brother Gary what a good game he thought he'd had."
Guscott's career continued in the same vein he started it - dropping the goal to seal the 1997 British & Irish Lions series victory over South Africa and playing a key part in Bath's dominance of the late 1980s and early 1990s - which included a Heineken Cup triumph in 1998.
Former Sale and now Saracens fly-half Hodgson has enjoyed mixed international fortunes since making a sensational Test bow against Romania in 2001. Hodgson contributed 44 points to England's rout - that included two tries. Jason Robinson ran in four tries on the day while Dan Luger and Ben Cohen both bagged hat-tricks as part of England's 20-try haul. Hodgson - who was joined in making his debut by now Saracens coach Alex Sanderson - has since found himself behind a certain Jonny Wilkinson and Tigers' fly-half Toby Flood in the England pecking order.
Hodgson suffered at the hands of All Blacks during England's tour to New Zealand in 2008 and the media were quick to pounce on his defensive shortcomings. However, he rode out the storm and remains one of the Premiership's most consistent goal-kickers. He won his 35th cap during England's win over Wales last Saturday and will hope to be named in England's World Cup squad later this month.
Richards, regarded as one of rugby's greatest back-row units, never shirked a challenge and his endeavour brought him two tries on debut against Ireland in 1986. Despite picking up a host of honours with Leicester, England and the British & Irish Lions, Richards is arguably more well-known for his exploits off the field.
He was memorably guilty of playing football with the Calcutta Cup after a clash between England and Scotland at Murrayfield in 1988 and was handed a three-year ban from the sport in the wake of the 'Bloodgate' drama that engulfed Harlequins in 2009. The latter took the shine off a glittering coaching career that saw him steer the Tigers to four Premiership titles and two Heineken Cup trophies.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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