Tom Dunn questioned whether he would win an England cap before debut in Italy

By Duncan Bech, PA England Rugby Correspondent
·2-min read

Tom Dunn warmed hearts with the footage of him talking with family on his phone after England had defeated Italy a week ago, but just minutes earlier he was dreading the prospect of another aborted debut.

The video of a tearful Dunn wearing his first cap went viral in the aftermath of a 34-5 victory over Italy that was sufficient to clinch the third Six Nations title of the Eddie Jones era.

The Bath hooker replaced Jamie George with only two minutes of the Stadio Olimpico showdown left to banish memories of Murrayfield on February 8 when he sat on the bench as an unused replacement.

“I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some demons, but whether I got on wasn’t in my control,” Dunn said.

“All I could control was what I was doing, so I did a few throws on the side of the pitch, bounced around and warmed my shoulders up a bit. All I could do was be ready, and I was.

“For the Scotland game, there was quite a big build-up, all that excitement and then almost a come-down after the game.

“I was buzzing that we won the game, but just that little bit of disappointment that I didn’t get my cap.”

Jubilant that his moment had come in Rome, Dunn can be seen on the footage wiping away tears as his voice crackles with emotion.

“The first conversation was with my other half and my kids, just showing my cap on the camera – my kids enjoyed that and enjoyed seeing me on telly,” he said.

“They’re only four and two, so they don’t really understand. They just like seeing me. Then sharing a moment with my other half was lovely.

“The second conversation was with my parents. Again, it was a very proud moment because it was a great honour to play.

“It was a shame they couldn’t be there in person but it was brilliant to have them on the phone in the stadium.”