Perry targets England return
March 13, 2008

Bristol scrum-half Shaun Perry has set his sights on a return to England colours after making a successful Premiership comeback last weekend.

The 29-year-old scored two tries in the 30-13 victory over basement side Leeds Carnegie - his first outing for three months after being sidelined with a freak throat injury.

"I was playing against Harlequins in the Cup at home and I dived for a tackle and one of the players caught me in the throat with his heel," recalled Perry.

"The initial shock was bad, I couldn't talk but I could breathe OK, the physios and doctors came on and had a look at it and but I could breathe OK and therefore could carry on.

"After the game I had it scanned and found out that I had fractured my cricothyroid cartilage and needed to have my throat cut open," added Perry detailing the injury that remarkably also sidelined his team mate Nathan Budgett this season.

Perry, a member of England's Rugby World Cup squad last year, finally returned to action with Bristol on Sunday where he played a pivotal part in his side's victory.

"It was a great game to be involved in, I pushed myself to be involved in the Bath game the week before but it just wasn't going to happen to be fair.

"It was nice to be back and the two tries I scored had a combined metres of about five so it wasn't too demanding on the legs. My first try was down to Roy Winters who literally picked me and the ball up and threw me over the line - they all count anyway!"

On the comeback trail, Perry now has his sights set on an international return with surely this summer's tour to New Zealand his main target?

"Yes, that's my goal now," said Perry, "It's disappointing not to be involved in the Six Nations but these things happen, you can't plan them.

"My main task is to play for Bristol now and get some good performances in and push for that No.9 shirt for the summer tour."

Since falling out of favour at the Rugby World Cup last year Perry has seen a host of scrum-halves step up into the void with Sale Sharks' Richard Wigglesworth the latest name to take the England No.9 shirt.

And watcing from the sidelines does not sit well with the 14-times-capped Perry.

"It's horrible, I hate sitting on the sidelines for England and Bristol. I'm not the best watcher to be fair, and I can be quite miserable if I'm not playing rugby.

Perry was at first hand when England battled adversity at the World Cup following a crushing loss to South Africa in the pool stages and has backed England to bounce back once again following defeat and depressing performance against Scotland last weekend.

"After we lost against South Africa in the group stages we had a bit of a crisis meeting and worked out where we went wrong, looked at things we needed to do, to put things right and worked on that all week.

"[This week] I don't think they would have a crisis meeting as such, but they would have done the analysis on the game, would have worked out the areas that they were weak in, the areas that they struggled in and will have worked all week to put that right. And hopefully they'll put it right for the weekend."

Offering an insight into England's likely response to their defeat to the Scots he added, "You've got to look at your own performance and at what you did wrong, and what you did right and what if anything you could have done for the whole team, and you look at the team performance as a whole and see what we could have done collectively better to be stronger.

"Then you put your point across and your opinion across and you come out with a new gameplan, or a revised gameplan an work on that.

"The best thing about rugby is that you can go out the week after and put things right but you do rely on the experienced players as they have been through it all before, you rely on them to pipe up in meetings and put their point across.

"But it's not bleak at all, we've got some good young players coming through like the Cipriani's the Geraghty's and that's what you need."

Looking ahead Perry believes the recently agreement between the Rugby Footbal Union and Premier Rugby that will ensure greater preparation periods around internationals will soon garner results.

"That has been the trouble with international games in the past, you don't really get much time to prepare. Between the Six Nations you are back at the club, you are hear and there and you don't get much time together.

"The longer the England team can spend together inpreparation for the game, it is only going to benefit the team in the long run."

O2 is a proud sponsor of the RFU's Go Play Rugby initiative. For the chance for your local rugby club to win an England Training Day at Twickenham courtesy of O2 visit


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