PARIS, 21 October - His final hurrah in international rugby may not have been quite the fairytale ending he was hoping for, but Englnad full back Jason Robinson is confident that a repeat run to the final is highly likely in the future.
"I think they did extremely well. Mathew Tait, Toby Flood and Dan Hipkiss when he came on gave very good performances. They have come of age in the last seven weeks and the future looks good," Robinson said of England's young players.
It is a sentiment that both England captain Phil Vickery and the Rugby Football Union (RFU) elite rugby director Rob Andrew agree with following their unexpected run to the final.
Vickery believes that the state of English rugby isn't as bad as it was portrayed as being in the wake of their 36-0 defeat to South Africa in the pool stages.
"We have to stop mocking ourselves and saying how crap everything is about England rugby. We are not that bad. Let's get behind it and drive and get ready for the next world cup," he said.
Andrew feels that the new faces that England have blooded are just the tip of the iceberg for future development, saying: "We said we saw in the last 12 months a couple of really good players coming through the game in England, hopefully they will continue to mature."
An amazing career in two codes
Head coach Brian Ashton, who is still uncertain of his own future, has no such doubts of that of the England production line, adding: "I know a lot of young players personally and I know there is a massive amount of talent. England rugby has a pretty exciting future."
Robinson had to leave the field in the second half of the 15-6 loss to South Africa with a shoulder injury, meaning Tait switched from centre to full back to fill the void. In fact such was Tait's performance as the last line of defence that the Springboks' technical adviser Eddie Jones believes that he should fill the number 15 jersey on a permanent basis.
Robinson knows first hand that Tait has was it takes, but says it comes down to the player himself as to where he wants to play.
"You would have to ask Mathew what position he wants to play, because there is no point in picking people if they are not comfortable in that position. But he has all the attributes to be a good full back. I have played with him and been skinned by him on a few occassions," Robinson said.
Even though the RWC 2007 final was lost, Robinson, a try scorer in England's success in the final four years ago, is able to look back proudly at a fantastic career in both rugby union and league.
"I've achieved far more. My intial goal (when I changed codes) was to get in the England team and hopefully do well. I hoped to play in the world cup, but never imagined playing in two world cup finals. I was lucky to win one of them. It's been an amazing seven years, an amazing 16 years."
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