Flood out to prove a point
Toby Flood is determined to prove England manager Martin Johnson was wrong to drop him for Jonny Wilkinson.
Flood, England's starting fly-half for their Six Nations title campaign, was axed for the opening Rugby World Cup victory over Argentina. Even though Wilkinson missed five consecutive penalties and England struggled for momentum, Johnson kept a frustrated Flood rooted to the bench for the whole game.
Flood is set to be given his chance in Sunday's clash with Georgia and has a point to prove to everyone - including his mum. "It was really frustrating not to be part of the first win but you get over it pretty quickly and realise it's a massive squad effort," Flood said.
"It is difficult but you take it on the chin. In coming weeks the squad is going to be important. You can't let it knock you. All I can do is go out there and try to prove them wrong on the decision they're making. You hope you get the chance and make an impact, put your hand up when you get an opportunity.
"They haven't said 'You're second fiddle or whatever', each week is selected on form more than anything else."
Flood grew up playing with Wilkinson at Newcastle and insisted they are the only two people who seem not to be fixated with their battle for the number 10 jersey.
"You get asked it every other day. Even my mum asks me the same questions," Flood added. "We get on better than most people think. (At Newcastle) I never saw it as a competition but as a chance to learn from an outstanding player. When you're 18 or so and you see who's on top of the world, it's amazing to be there.
"It's a talking point outside the squad but between me and Jonny there's no big high five or handshake of congratulations about getting the start. It's just down to business."
Flood put Wilkinson's kicking woes down to a "once in a blue moon thing" and believes the only issue with the match balls is that they are not "kicked-in" as much as those used in practice. "I'm always hit and hope so it doesn't change anything in my dynamic," he joked.
"It was a bit of a shock to the system (to see Wilkinson missing) but take out maybe one and a half of those kicks and the rest were pretty tough. They weren't all gimmes, it's tough for him and it's hard to console someone after the game. But he said he thought he hit them well so I don't think it has been a massive soul-searching week for him."