Friday, 13 July 2007

White out

England's training camp was apparently "rocked" yesterday by the news that tight-head prop Julian White has decided to pull out of World Cup contention to spend more time with his family and focus on running his 120-strong livestock farm .

"I have a young family and a farm to manage and felt that I could not commit to the length of time the squad will be away from home," said White.

Commentators seem convinced that this spells disaster for England's chances but I'm not so sure. They base their view on White's reputation as a fearsome scrummager and, although this bears up at club level (his demolition of Marcus Horan in the Heineken Cup game against Munster last season being the most recent example), he hasn't exactly set the international scene alight and offers precious little else. Of the props in contention I'd have him at about 5th in the pecking order behind Vickery, Stevens, Sheridan and Yates.

That said, I've a huge amount of respect for his decision - one few players would have had the courage to make.

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