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Group mentality pulled Cueto through dark few hours

03 October 2011

  • Mark Cueto on the disappointment of being dropped for Scotland decider
  • France can be the best attacking side in the world on their day – Cueto
England wing Mark Cueto at a media session in New Zealand

Photo: Getty Images

Mark Cueto admitted he 'spat the toys out of the pram' for a few hours after learning he had been dropped for the clash with Scotland but said the strong group mentality at the world cup pulled him through the hard period.

The Sale Sharks wing had bagged an 11 minute hat trick in the victory over Romania but found himself left out of the match day 22 for the Pool B decider seven days later.

England boss Martin Johnson spoke in the week about the positive reaction of the 15 guys not in his starting line-up and Cueto agreed, but only after some difficult moments.

The 31-year-old said: "We’re a 30-man squad and at some point everyone will be disappointed. I’m not denying that for a few hours on Monday I spat the toys out of the pram but you soon get over it and you know that everybody has got to pull together.

"It’s not about you it’s about everyone else and the harder the non-22 boys train the more the starting 22 get out of it, but it’s still a tough one.

"The coaches have got to make a lot of tight calls all over the pitch and from a team point of view that’s good. You want a balance – you want a certain degree of the team picking itself but you also want competition for places as that brings out the best in everything."

England wing Mark Cueto (L) celebrates a try with fellow wing Chris Ashton

Photo: Getty Images

Cueto is a veteran of the 2007 Rugby World Cup with 54 caps and he says his particular experience at the last tournament helped him deal with the disappointment, pointing out that you never know what is round the corner at a world cup.

With Delon Armitage suspended for one match after a dangerous high tackle on Chris Paterson in the Scotland victory Cueto is likely to return and he added: "In ’07 I got injured in the final Pool match against Tonga so wasn’t available for Australia.

"The boys won so you don’t change a winning team at that stage in a world cup so I missed the quarter and the semi. You think your world cup is over and then suddenly you’re back in for a world cup final and playing the biggest game of your life. I think that experience boded well for me this time.”

France are England’s opponents in the quarter final at Eden Park on Saturday and Cueto believes Les Bleus will be as dangerous as ever after their indifferent form in the pool stages and especially after losing to Tonga last time out.

And Cueto is wary of the unpredictability of France’s backline, a unit he considers to be the best in the world on their day.

He said: "The defeat to Tonga makes them more dangerous than ever really. On their day they’re probably the best attacking team in the world with natural flair and speed and with boys like Clerc and Medard in the backs they can make something out of nothing.

"Now you know that one more game and you’re either going home or going through, which is the special thing about the world cup. That whole mindset can do some fantastic things for a team, as you saw with us in ’07. So from that point of view we’ll have to be careful."