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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 September 2007, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Josh Lewsey Q&A

Josh Lewsey
Josh Lewsey
England wing and 2003 World Cup winner

Josh Lewsey will start on England's right wing for their vital World Cup match against South Africa at the Stade de France on Friday. He took time out from his preparations to answer some of your questions.

Q: Do you do your homework on some of the opposition wingers? Who do you respect the most?
(Nick Wynn-Morgan, 52, Sri Lanka)

All teams put hours of work into analysing the opposition these days and we watch plenty of DVDs. I have been besieged with questions about Bryan Habana this week and he is obviously a headline act at this World Cup. He is a phenomenal player who is on top of his game and brimming with confidence, so clearly I am going to have to keep a close eye on him on Friday.

But ultimately it is about reacting to what is in front of you and concentrating on your own game.

Q: You often refer to 'playing what we see in front of us', but are you encouraged to do the unconventional in attack a la David Campese?
(Neil Humphreys, 43, Bristol)

Yes, but only if it comes off!

Q: Watching the England-USA game I thought there were many good signs; however do you think England were too nervous with it being the start of the World Cup campaign?
(Richard Wilson, 30, Baghdad)

There was certainly an element of that. We perhaps lacked a bit of composure. Against teams like the USA you don't have to force tries, you just have to control the ball and the tries will come.

The guys have been together for three months now and we were so desperate to show the potential we have in the squad that we threw 50/50 balls when we should have just kept hold of it, recycled again and gone into the next phase. That is a mental element, and was certainly evident also in the opening game between France and Argentina.

Q: What do think of the new all-red away strip, doing away with legendary black and white socks?
(Michael McNeilage, 56, Paris)

A: The socks have never been black and white! Apparently they were 'dark navy' and white, but I am not exactly sure about that. People were still wearing purple shiny tracksuits in those days!

The new kits are fine, a lot of time has been put into designing them to give us an advantage, but most of the teams have the same style shirts now. It takes a bit of effort when they're that tight to take them on and off in a hurry!

Q: How's your surfing doing? Getting any better on the old plank?!
(Dan, 32, Cornwall)

A: This summer I have improved a bit. I got a really good board made for me by "Chops", a guy down in St Agnes, Cornwall. It makes a big difference but unfortunately I haven't been able to do much surfing in the last few weeks.

It would be quite nice to have a day off away from the pressure of rugby and get into the water, but hopefully I will get a chance when I get back home.

Q: Who is the joker in the England squad?
(Ian Russell, 28, Maidstone)

A: You can't look further than Mark Regan. Every day he will come out with an absolute pearler of a comment. He doesn't even mean to, half the time. Sometimes you are laughing with him but most of the time you are laughing at him!

But he is certainly the type of guy you want in the squad, not just for his playing ability but for morale as well. It is good to have a guy like that who can lighten the atmosphere at any moment.

Q: Do you still have a beer with the opposition after the game at international level these days?
(Andy Tee, 32, Gloucester)

A: Not often, or very rarely and I find that quite sad. That is why, for me, the Lions tour is so unique and so special. You are with guys that you bash lumps out of year after year but you come together, have a few beers and play together. Maybe it is the dreamy side of me or whatever, but there is something about that Corinthian element that I find special. I would love to have a beer with the Springboks after Friday's game, and I try to have one with my opposite number, but I don't know whether we'll get the opportunity.

Q: I'd love to play rugby professionally one day, but am quite slightly built. I usually play at wing or full-back, and feel my build helps me to be agile, quick and nimble, but most people tell me I must bulk up a lot more if I'm going to progress. Is it still possible for lighter players to succeed in modern rugby?
(Tristan, 16, Hampshire)

A: Of course it is. It is just about having the right form of training. At 16 you are going to be slight anyway, and when you get to 18 through to 21, you fill out naturally anyway. With the right training you can dramatically affect your body shape.

Q: Do you think the huge number of foreign players in the Premiership is harming the future of the England rugby team?
(Jeremy, 35, New Zealand)

That is a very political question, which brings in elements of promotion and relegation, and ring-fencing the Premiership. There needs to be a good system where the young talent comes through, but within that you also need coaches and directors of rugby who have the freedom to pick such talent rather than having the pressure of having to win, or more importantly not losing, each week.

A lot of foreign players bring an awful lot to the Premiership in terms of a different mindset and different skills. But if you look at the two sides that have dominated the Premiership in recent times - Leicester and Wasps - they rely largely on home-grown players, which suggest success is not just about individual talent, wherever it comes from.

Q: If you could pick one Springbok to be in your side when you play them, who would it be?
(Michael MacCallum, 29, Epsom)

A: No more questions about Bryan Habana!



SEE ALSO
England pick Farrell at fly-half
12 Sep 07 |  English
England 28-10 USA
08 Sep 07 |  English
Josh Lewsey Q&A
06 Sep 07 |  English
France 22-9 England
18 Aug 07 |  English
England 15-21 France
11 Aug 07 |  Rugby Union
England 62-5 Wales
04 Aug 07 |  Rugby Union


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