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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 07:20 GMT 08:20 UK
Josh Lewsey Q&A
Josh Lewsey
Josh Lewsey
England back and 2003 World Cup winner

Josh Lewsey switches to full-back for their vital World Cup match against Samoa at the Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes on Saturday. He took time out from his preparations to answer some of your questions.

You've been moved from wing to full-back against Samoa. How do you feel about switching positions again and which one do you prefer?
(David, 35, Watford)

I get asked this question more than any other. In the past I have asked for some consistency between club and country so I can put all my energies into being the best I can in one position. But I have given up trying to affect things outside my control. I just concentrate on whatever job is asked of me.

When a team is playing as well as they can, I think full-back is the best position on the field. You can see all the play, pick and choose your time to come in and get your hands on the ball. But when a team plays a more stagnated style of rugby, it is sometimes easier to get involved from the wing. I try to enjoy myself as much as possible, regardless of my position.

Tell us your reaction to being asked to play back at full-back.
(Speaking to 5Live)

(Laughs long and loud) - "I laughed, that was it. I just had a chuckle to myself. I said before this tournament I'll take enjoyment whever it comes and I'll try and do that again this weekend."

I've always wanted to know who the biggest gas merchant is, Jason Robinson or Paul Sackey. Can you shed any light on this? (Richard, 25, London)

They are different types of runners. Jason is electric off the mark - and probably one of the most agile blokes in world rugby. Sackey is more of a sprinter.

Paul Robinson and Josh Lewsey
Lewsey says Robinson's turn of pace can beat the best of them

If you put him on a track over 100m, he is very fast. But rugby is not just about speed, it is about being effective with it, how you beat players, how fast you are when you are tired.

In terms of flat speed, Tom Varndell is probably one of the fastest in England, Bryan Habana maybe in world rugby. The fastest guy I have ever been on a rugby field with is the former Fijian wing Marika Vunibaka in his heyday.

If you could do any other job in the world, what would it be and why? (Dan, London)

In a previous life I think I was probably Lord of the Manor! That would be a nice way of life but I think that went out in the 1920s! I will probably end up doing a few different things when I retire. I would like to have a farm and do my country sports, plus some surfing, and have a balance in life. It is not a case of only picking one job.

What is the funniest thing you have heard while playing for England? (Tom Pick, 15, Banbury)

It was probably during the 2003 World Cup final. The referee, Andre Watson, said: "I won't give a penalty at a scrum unless I can put my mortgage on it." After the fifth penalty against us, our hooker Steve Thompson turned round to Watson and said: "You must have a s*** house!"

All the discussions I've had with rugby friends about England's recent form have revolved around 'slow ball at ruck time'. Do you too see this as the key to unlocking the English backline and how much work is going into resolving this problem? (Dan Spong, 35, Guildford)

Slow ball is an effect of not asking questions of the opposition defence. If you do not do that, they can line you up and team tackle you and you are never going to get quick ball like that. You have to look at the cause rather than the symptoms.

What are your thoughts on some of the punishments that have been handed out to players for dangerous tackles etc? Some seem a bit harsh. (Leigh Smith, 28, London)

I think they were trying to clamp down in the early stages, certainly, and they were probably more stringent than they were in the last World Cup. But foul play has got to be kept out of our game.

During the World Cup, who do you spend most of your spare time with? (Ross Boyt, 28, England)

I am the sort of character who keeps myself to myself really. Whether that is a good or bad thing, I don't know! Gomers (Andy Gomarsall) is next door to me, so I spend a bit of time chatting to him. I also spend a lot of time reading. I have just finished a book on Genghis Khan called Wolf of the Plains. It was fantastic.

What food do you eat before and after an international match? (Will Knox, 26, France)

I always have the same breakfast - marmite on toast with baked beans and perhaps some scrambled egg or chicken breast, plus a cup of tea. And then, if it is an afternoon kick-off, about three hours before I will have a small snack, primarily oat-based or carbohydrate, like a flapjack or an energy bar. That gets me through. If it is a later kick-off, I will have a small lunch as well. It is more what you eat for two days beforehand that matters. What I eat afterwards depends if we have won or not!

Do you remember every try you have scored in your international career and which did you enjoy the most? (Leo Collins, 17, Edinburgh)

It has been a while since I scored one for England! I think it was Scotland at home, a little while back (the 2006 Six Nations).

Josh Lewsey scores a try against Italy in 2003
Lewsey scores his "favourite" try against Italy in 2003

There has been a bit of drought recently in terms of opportunities but it has not been through lack of effort! Perhaps my favourite try was against Italy in the 2003 Six Nations. The then England coach Clive Woodward rang me on the Sunday before the game and said: "This is your one and only chance to impress."

I got man-of-the-match that day and scored a 60-metre try. In terms of the pressure on that game, it was probably quite a symbolic moment for me.

How hard do you find it switching from Wasps' attacking and defensive systems to England's? (Graeme Forbes, 36, Macedonia)

That's a very good question. It is difficult but hopefully we will put that right for this weekend!

Do you or the team have any pre-match superstitions? (Fred Roberts, 18, London)

Some players put one particular boot on first or they like to be first or last out of the dressing room but I don't have any. I just get on with it.

Last week you were up against Bryan Habana, this week it will be Alesana Tuilagi for Samoa. What sort of problems does he pose for a defence? (Dale, 29, Cambridge)

I am not marking Tuilagi now because I will be at full-back. Everyone asked how I was going to handle Habana last week - he got a couple of opportunities but he did not score. Tuilagi is obviously a bit of a different body shape to Bryan but he is no less challenging. If our defence holds firm, hopefully I will not get to tackle him!



SEE ALSO
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18 Sep 07 |  English
England 0-36 South Africa
14 Sep 07 |  English
England 28-10 USA
08 Sep 07 |  English
Josh Lewsey Q&A
06 Sep 07 |  English


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