Payne wary of Dowd influence
England prop avoids former mentor
By Carlie Horsley. Last Updated: 18/06/08 10:29am
Payne: Hasn't spoken to former mentor
England prop Tim Payne has opted to snub his mentor Craig Dowd ahead of the second Test against New Zealand on Saturday.
The 29-year-old Payne attributes his late career boost to the former All Blacks front-row, who coached him at Wasps for six years before returning to his native New Zealand.
Payne now finds himself going up against New Zealand, with his mentor Dowd having played the role of informant for All Blacks coach Graham Henry.
He told NZPA: "I haven't spoken to him at all... The less I say to him the better.
"When I first came to the club he took me under his wing and I learned a lot from him on and off the field."
This will be Payne's fifth Test start as he replaces the injured Andy Sheridan but he seems unfazed by this responsibility.
He said: "It's not daunting at all, I know exactly what I can do. I've been at a club that's won six trophies in five years so I know how to play under pressure.
"The Leicester-Wasps (Premiership final) at Twickenham was 82,000, the biggest club game ever, bigger than anything they have in New Zealand. Playing in situations like that can only help you out, hopefully it will help me on Saturday."
With a positive attitude towards the upcoming Test, Payne looks to improve England's form and hopes the team will produce a better performance against the All Blacks.
"We've been in situations where we've lost a big game and then gone and played the same team a week after. We knew we screwed up so we had to put it right the next week and we did."