Why I don’t want accolades to go to second-row colleagues

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Losing my place in the England squad for today’s Six Nations showdown with Wales was a huge disappointment.

And to be honest, it came as a real shock to me as I thought I had done quite well in the two previous games.

I was fairly confident going back into camp after the victory over Italy in Rome that I would be selected again.

Then Graham Rowntree pulled me to one side and delivered the bad news.

No matter who you are in sport or your standing in your respective profession, that is news that is always hard to take.

If we had lost those first two games of the Six Nations then you would understand changes being made. But Stuart Lancaster has done what he thinks is best, he’s made a few changes, and you have to respect that.

I’ll watch the game today but it will be difficult knowing I could have been out there.

You find yourself caught between two emotions.

I will be supporting the team, of course I will, because I know how hard the guys have worked these last few weeks.

They’re my team-mates and I want them to succeed.

But at the same time I want to get back in the side so I just hope neither of the second rows gets man-of-the-match!

Any professional sportman would want to get back in the national team.

In order to do so I have to concentrate on what I can control.

I have been in this position before and all I can do is train well and prove them wrong.

I also have a game for Stade Francais next week at Brive where I can lay down a marker to the England coaching staff.

Next week is very important for me. I’ve got two days at the England training camp in Loughborough – Tuesday and Wednesday – to show the coaches what I’m made of, what I’m about, to get in their faces and make a nuisance of myself.

Either side of that I’m in and out of Paris working hard for Stade.

As for today’s game itself, I’ve heard people talk about the lack of collective caps in the England team, but I can’t see that being a factor, not at Twickenham in front of 80,000 fans.

The guys who have come in – Lee Dickson, Ben Morgan etc – have proven they can play at this level with their performances in the last two matches.

And there’s been a lot of talk about the Welsh backs, but I’m confident that our guys will be able to handle them. It will be quite a match up in the midfield with four very physical centres and I expect some big collisions.

I think the key area for the whole game will be the breakdown. Both sides will be trying to generate quick ball from the rucks in order to play on the front foot against a disorganised defence. Conversely both teams will try their best to legally slow down the opposition’s ball to allow their defence to get set.

Whichever team dominates here will probably come out on top. And as always discipline will be crucial as I predict it will be a tight game decided by a few points and accurate goal kicking. I just wish I could be in the middle of it all.

It’ll be hard watching this afternoon but it will just increase my determination to get myself back in that team.

Tom Palmer and the Yorkshire Post are supporting RBS RugbyForce, the community rugby programme that is improving club facilities across the nation. To find out more or register your rugby club for the RBS RugbyForce Weekend on June 2 and 3, visit www.rbs.com/rugbyforce.