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getofmeland
16-02-08, 03:30 PM
Martin Corry has learned something from watching England in the Six Nations — some old captains tend to become better in absentia.

'You get people saying: “Ah, those mistakes wouldn't have been made if you'd been on the field”,' he said, sounding suitably incredulous at the shortness of some memories. 'Jeez, they weren't saying that when I was captain for seven consecutive losses not so long ago.'



http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/02_02/corryDM1502_468x835.jpgNo looking back: Corry is happy just to be playing club rugby for Leicester

Had he not retired from national duty, Corry would have been leading Leicester at London Irish tomorrow and then returning to Paris where he stood alone on the burning English deck two years ago, fighting the French above and beyond the call of duty in a hopelessly lost cause. A man can only do so much for his country and Corry had done more than enough.

England had been banking on him to do a bit more until the ex-captain gave Brian Ashton news of his retirement just before the head coach planned to name him for one last campaign.

Why they still needed his leadership, be it at lock or on the blindside of the back row, became crystal clear through the clouds of confusion which enveloped the last 20 minutes against Wales and again on a slightly less desperate scale during the second half against Italy in Rome last week.

'It's very easy to say: “If only certain other people had been there”,' said Corry. 'If I'd been playing and the same mistakes had occurred, they'd have been saying: “If only Johnno had been there”. Everyone looks at who's not there as being the answer. It does not lie with only one person.

'The way the England team works, there is a captain, there is someone running the line-out, someone else looking after the contact area, others running attack and defence, so you have five leaders across the board. The hard thing is putting it into action.'

For all his unquestioned loyalty and belief in the national cause, Corry was never going to change his mind on the 'R' question. No shortage of back row personnel would provide an excuse to volunteer his services, not when it would have meant more time away from his family — wife Tara, four-year-old Eve and baby Edward.

'Once the decision had been made, that was it,' he said. 'There was no looking back and I have no regrets. It was the right decision for me and my family and it was certainly the right decision for Leicester.

'As soon as I made it, we had a free week which meant I could take the family away. We went to Tenerife for six days so I was able to play with the kids in the pool and I thought: “My God, this is brilliant — this is what it's all about”.

'I'd never been able to go away during the season before. I didn't want to be leaving my family for a fortnight or three weeks, then coming back for a day or two and going off again.

'So that meant I went down to the Wales game as a supporter and I'll admit that when I saw the England side run out, I did feel a little pang but nothing more than that.

'I was genuinely excited about what lay in store. For the first half everyone played in a really pleasing manner but I've been part of an England team which has capitulated before.

'We were 14-3 up against South Africa in 2006 and managed to lose the lead. It happens, but there are reasons to be optimistic about the rest of the championship. It was disappointing to lose that lead against Wales, but the performance was there and England had done enough to win the game.'

He may have retired from the international scene but Corry is definitely not in retirement mode. 'While my international career hasn't been perfect, I have enjoyed it immensely but I don't look back.

'If you do that, there's an element of putting your feet up and maybe easing off. I'll leave that for some other time because there will always be something I want to achieve.'

Like another Premiership title, something which has become all the more important for Corry's Tigers after their abnormally lame failure to make the Heineken Cup last eight.

Beating Gloucester at Kingsholm last Saturday to take the champions to a point behind the leaders is something which would have been denied Corry had he waited for England to retire him instead of vice versa.

Life after England couldn't be better.

'I'm loving my rugby,' he said, so much so that — at 34 and after a club career spanning 15 years — he will go on for one more season.




From Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/sport/rugby.html?in_article_id=514830&in_page_id=1780&ito=1490)