Cueto refuses to turn back on England
October 12, 2011
Cueto scored a hat-trick against Romania in the pool stages © Getty Images
England wing Mark Cueto has rejected claims he will retire from international duty in the wake of England's early World Cup exit.
The 31-year-old winger started the quarter-final against France - scoring his fourth try of the tournament in the process - and remains adamant he will not join the group of players hanging up their international boots post-World Cup. Cueto found himself on the sidelines for England's do-or-die clash with Scotland in their final Pool B game with Delon Armitage preferred, but the Sale winger concedes that although he will not be in contention for selection for the 2015 global gathering, he will give his all in the meantime.
"As for my England future, only time will tell," Cueto told the West Cumberland Times and Star. "We are now into a new four-year cycle going towards the 2015 World Cup on home territory and I am realistic enough to know that, at nearly 32, my international time may inevitably be short.
"This was definitely my last World Cup but I still want with all my heart to represent England and I cannot imagine ever giving that up voluntarily or without a battle. It has meant too much to me for that - and still does."
Cueto admitted that he found it tough to develop his own form during the tournament after sustaining a back injury and also lamented England's disastrous first-half against the French which saw England go into the break 16-0 down.
"Conceding 16 points to nothing in the calamitous first half-hour gave us a massive mountain to climb and, try as we might, we could never scale the peak," Cueto said. "You will take it from this that the try I scored near the end was about as minor a consolation as there could have been in the circumstances.
"I was hardly overjoyed with my own performance, especially in the first half and it summed up the team's. It has been a frustrating tournament for me, having had such a good 18 months both for England and Sale only to arrive in New Zealand with the back injury I picked up in our final warm-up Test in Ireland.
"Confidence is built from regular, successful rugby and there has been nothing regular about it for me. Playing only two games in six weeks, being selected and then left out and then selected again - I don't feel I have really been able to do myself justice."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton