Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Cueto ignoring try drought

Mark Cueto
Mark Cueto

Mark Cueto is sick to the back teeth of being reminded that he has now gone 15 Tests without scoring a try for England.

The Sale wing enjoyed arguably his best performance for England in last Saturday's 35-18 victory over Australia, cutting the Wallaby defence open almost at will. But it was his fellow wing-man Chris Ashton who scored both the tries in England's record victory at Twickenham.

"I am a big believer that the more I talk about it the less chance I have of scoring," Cueto said ahead of England's team announcement for this weekend's game against Samoa. "I have always said I want to score tries. That is what I get the most joy out of doing. I am playing well. It is the one part of my game that wasn't there but I am sure it will come."

He added: "We are winning games and playing well. That is the bottom line. The icing on the cake is me scoring. I am sure it will come. I am sick of talking about it."

Cueto has scored 15 tries in 43 appearances for England. But after launching his international career with eight in his first eight caps, Cueto has only scored two in his past 25.

Almost none of the blame for that likes at Cueto's door. In recent years, England have hardly played a brand of rugby which allows the wide men to shine. But that is changing. Cueto made a series of blistering line-breaks against the Wallabies and it was his off-load that led to Chris Ashton's first try.

"It was one of those days where everything just seemed to click. From my point of view, every time I got the ball I felt I would beat people and make yards. Those days don't come around too often," he said.

Cueto will hope they start to come around more often as Martin Johnson's youthful England side continue to grow together. Eight of the starting XV that beat Australia were under 25.

Johnson is likely to retain the core of that team to play Samoa but he will make some changes, with Lewis Moody and Mike Tindall expected to be rested.

Matt Banahan and Delon Armitage are the outside centre options while Hendre Fourie is the obvious back row replacement for Moody. James Haskell and Dave Attwood are both set be involved in the 22 after they were retained in camp.

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