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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 September 2007, 05:29 GMT 06:29 UK
Josh Lewsey's column

Josh Lewsey
Josh Lewsey
England wing and 2003 World Cup winner

There is a lot of excitement now we are so close to the World Cup. It is the Everest of the rugby calendar and everyone is really looking forward to getting out to France and getting on with it.

The England squad got back together for training last Wednesday but there was also a fair bit of admin to get through in the days before we left - allocating kit and that sort of thing.

Josh Lewsey celebrates England's World Cup win in 2004
We will not lose this World Cup on fitness or desire

We also had a send-off dinner with O2 on Thursday and then the Scrum in the Park event in London on Sunday. All the sponsors want their little piece of you before you go!

In between all the madness you try to concentrate on the important stuff, which is training and focusing on what we need to do next week before our opening game against the USA.

We were disappointed with our performance in Marseille in our last warm-up match, so this week was reasonably hard because you can't do a lot physically in Test week if you want to be really fresh for games.

As a result, we spent quite a bit of time on the field last week and will rest up a bit this week to get the energy levels back.

When you look at the group we are in, we are going to need every ounce of it.

They always grow their boys big over in South Africa, while the Samoans and Tongans probably have some of the most naturally gifted athletes in the world. And the USA probably has the best sporting culture and facilities anywhere in terms of being geared to producing great athletes.

But we are in great shape ourselves. We have worked very hard over the last 10 weeks and we will not lose this World Cup on fitness or desire, or physicality. However, we have to blend those things with the finer elements of the game like creativity, decision-making and executing individually on the field to make a good side.

Rugby is a very physical game and all the teams we will face are big and strong and fast and powerful. But it is about what you do with the ball as well.

There is a lot of excitement in the squad but it is intense

South Africa coach Jake White said last week that the team that wins the World Cup will have a great goalkicker and rock-solid defence.

Of course that is true - it is the foundation of any team, getting your set-pieces, your defence and restarts right.

If you do that, your game management is good and you take points when they are available, then you are going to be there or thereabouts in any game.

But to my mind, the team that wins this tournament will have a bit of an X-factor as well. That means not just being able to play one style, and that is the challenge for us really, to try to mix things up and blend our game accordingly.

I don't think we have shown what potentially we can do if you look at the talent we have got. We haven't played to the level we can yet, so that is quite an exciting mind-set to have.

Of course it is all very well talking about it, we have got to do it on the field. But we have to be positive that we can produce it over the next few weeks.

Josh Lewsey
If I manage to get 50 caps it is certainly something I'll be quite proud of

There is a lot of excitement in the squad but it is intense, and when you get an opportunity to get away from it I try to grasp it with both hands and switch off from rugby.

I tend to spend a lot of time walking my two dogs Olaf and Wyn, but unfortunately Wyn was chasing rabbits recently, ran out in front of a car and was run over.

He had his leg broken, and is still hobbling around at the moment, bless him. He is lucky to be alive because it was a really nasty break, but hopefully he will make a full recovery.

If I get selected for our first game of the World Cup, it will be my 50th England cap. It will be nice to reflect on that afterwards, but it is not something I dwell on beforehand.

I have had many highs in the game and a few lows, and I was left out for five-and-a half years (between 1998 and 2003), so if I manage to get 50 caps it is certainly something I'll be quite proud of.

I might have a glass of wine or a beer to celebrate, but the time for nostalgia will come when I've finished playing rugby.

Josh will be answering some of your questions during the World Cup. If you would like to ask him a question, fill in the form at the top right of this page (website users only; not available on mobiles).
















 

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