Dickson eyes starting berth
Lee Dickson is ready to end an eight-year journey and replace out-of-sorts Ben Youngs as England's starting scrum-half for the RBS 6 Nations clash with Wales on February 25.
England's interim head coach Stuart Lancaster is considering changes for the Twickenham showdown and Dickson could not have done any more to state his case for a promotion.
Dickson made a game-changing impact off the bench against Italy last weekend, bringing tempo and urgency into England's game at the Stadio Olimpico as they rallied from nine points down to win 19-15, and he believes he could be just as effective from the kick-off against the Triple Crown-chasing Welsh, saying: "Yes, I am very confident."
He added: "I drive my standards myself, every day in training - my ability to get around the park as quick as I can, get my forwards working hard for me and organising defence.
"I know I am very capable of doing that from the start. Ben Youngs is a great player in his own right. It's the coaches' decision who they want to pick. We've got two great nines here so I've just got to see what they say.
"It has taken a lot of time for me to get here. Every day, I am so happy to be here and wanting to play for my country. I always knew it would come - and now I'm just seizing the moment."
Dickson's quest for England's prized number nine jersey is something he has been working towards ever since he pulled out of a Royal Marines training camp in 2004 and opted to play rugby over following his father, Major Steve Dickson, into the armed forces.
"I was born in Germany while my Dad was over there. When I was 12 we went to boarding school," said Dickson, who was sent to Barnard Castle, alma mater of Rob Andrew and the Underwood brothers.
"My Dad was in the Royal Signals for 20-30 years. He went to Iraq, Bosnia - he did it all. It was near enough dead cert that I would follow him into the forces.
"I had signed up for the Marines pre-training. Then John Fletcher and Peter Walton asked me to join the Newcastle academy. I made the decision to follow my dream to play rugby and it's paid off. Now, about eight years after they offered me that chance, I am playing for England."