Sat, Sep 09, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Andrew says England's World Cup heroes must prove their worth

AFP , LONDON

English rugby's elite director Rob Andrew has told his country's World Cup heroes they cannot trade on past glories any longer.

Andrew believes too many of the players who helped England win the World Cup in 2003 have lingered since then without producing the performances to justify that faith in them.

England have lost 15 of 26 Tests since their dramatic World Cup final win against Australia in Sydney and their current five-Test losing streak is their worst for 22 years.

Andrew has been appointed by the English Rugby Football Union to oversee a complete overhaul of the national team structure and will work with head coach Andy Robinson in an attempt to get the team in shape to defend their crown in France next year.

The first item on Andrew's agenda is to ensure that the likes of Jonny Wilkinson, Iain Balshaw, Martin Corry and Mike Tindall are in the side solely because their form merits it.

Former England fly-half Andrew, who will sit on a five-man committee to choose the national team, said: "I can't say if he [Wilkinson] will be involved until we see where he is in six or seven weeks' time."

"I think that is the same for a lot of senior England players who are either coming back from injury or who perhaps in the last 18 months have not shown the form we know they are capable of," he said. "Now the ball is in their court to actually deliver in the next six or seven weeks the sort of form that you would expect to have to produce if you want to get picked."

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