Friday, December 25, 2009

Walking wounded come to England's rescue after autumn of discontent

Martin Johnson will soon reveal the tone of his autumnal review with the Rugby Football Union's director of elite rugby, Rob Andrew. It was a routine end-of-series meeting that has acquired extra spice after the disappointments of recent weeks.

Flood has just returned to action, six months after the setback. He has had a couple of brief outings from the bench for Leicester, and hopes to be in the mix this weekend for the Guinness Premiership game against Leeds.

''I'm feeling comfortable and there's not too much soreness but the plan was always to ease back into things,'' Flood said. ''It was tough initially, especially as we were chasing trophies last season. But I soon chilled out, reset goals and have come back on target. I'm trying to avoid dying a death by rushing into things when I'm not quite ready, but all the signs are good.''

''We've got a huge month coming up, starting with Leeds followed by Wasps before we head into back-to-back Heineken Cup games against Clermont Auvergne. That's what's in my thoughts at the moment.''

In Johnson's thoughts, too. He wants all his men fit and firing for the Six Nations opener against Wales on February 6. That tournament is already shaping up to be pivotal in Johnson's managerial career. His best-laid plans urgently need to see a return.

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