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Attwood reaches new heights

Dave Attwood experienced "the greatest high" of his career when he started for England in their 32-3 victory over Argentina, having feared his international days were over.

The Bath lock is now determined to keep hold of the coveted number five jersey as England head into the second Test and then an autumn series against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand.

"The greatest high for me was getting hold of that number five England shirt. Your first Test start is something I am immensely proud of," Attwood said.

Attwood was hailed as the next Martin Johnson when the former England captain-turned-coach selected him for the 2010 summer tour of Australia and then capped him off the bench the following autumn.

But a stamping ban ruled Attwood out of England's 2011 Six Nations squad and a knee injury cost him any hope of being involved in the Rugby World Cup.

When Stuart Lancaster presented Attwood with his England jersey in Salta and challenged him to emulate Johnson, they were words that carried a special resonance.

Attwood added: "You get presented with your shirt the day before. It gives you a real sense of what it means to be an England player and the players that have worn that shirt before.

"Stuart was talking about Johnno being the big one and there was a personal twang to it. When I was involved last time there was an awful lot of hype about the similarities I shared with Johnno.

"There was a large element of me that was delighted to be involved but a little bit in awe of what was going on.

"I am a lot more aware of the environment and I am a better player than I was when I was involved last time around and now it is about translating that into the England shirt again."


From Belfast Telegraph