You are viewing the content for Thursday 23 February 2006

Action-man White won’t be changing his style

By Alex Lowe
JULIAN WHITE has promised a typically no-holds barred performance when he returns to the England side for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield.

White, back in England’s starting XV for the first time in over a year, has a chequered disciplinary history and was banned for eight weeks last October after being sent off for fighting Newcastle’s Andy Perry.

It was the fourth red card of his career but the Leicester prop knows he cannot guarantee he will be able forever to change his ways.

"I’m not the first person to be sent off and I won’t be the last and sometimes when you are a competitive person these things happen," he said.

"I let the club down, the supporters and it reflects badly on your family. I was disappointed. But you can’t just say: ‘I’ll never do it again’. Ideally you won’t, but it was a spur of the moment thing.

"People took the moral high ground and said it shouldn’t happen and I totally agree, but until you have been playing and put in that position you can’t make judgments.

"Years ago perhaps people would have turned a blind eye. Unfortunately with the game now there are a lot more cameras and you can’t get away with these things. I don’t let my disciplinary record hang over me. It bothered me once, but I am 32 now and only have a few years left and I want to enjoy my rugby.

"Perhaps I have got to think about things twice - but if you think about it too much it affects your game."

England face a Scotland side without their lineout general and former captain Scott Murray, who was sent off against Wales for lashing out with his boot at opposite number Ian Gough. Referee Steve Walsh insisted the letter of the law meant he had no option but to show the red card, despite Murray’s obvious remorse and Gough’s acceptance that contact had been an accident. White would rather officials and referees are granted a freedom of interpretation.

"If you go by the book then, yes, Scott Murray should have got a ban, but there has to be a certain amount of discretion as well," said White. "Losing someone like Scott Murray is a huge blow for something that was accidental and perhaps they could use a bit of common sense now and again.

"Who am I to say that? I haven’t got the greatest record and am probably the last person to be telling disciplinary hearings how to do their job. But this is a physical game. If you go to places like France things happen like that week in, week out and nothing is ever said about it."

White has won his chance of a 25th start for England - and his first since the defeat by Wales last year - following injuries to Phil Vickery and Matt Stevens, who strained his shoulder in Bath’s weekend defeat by London Irish.

Despite being the Lions’ first-choice tight-head in New Zealand, White was dropped from the England squad at the start of this season because head coach Andy Robinson felt he does not possess the footballing skill or mobility Vickery and Stevens offer.

Robinson feels he has improved in the loose, though White is not so sure.

"I wouldn’t say I am playing any different now than I ever have done," said White.

"Robbo is looking to play a style of rugby and at that time I didn’t fit into it. It was not a matter of getting too down.

"I am 32, you can’t worry too much about changing your style."