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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 September 2007, 20:24 GMT 21:24 UK
Josh Lewsey Q&A
Josh Lewsey
Josh Lewsey
England back and 2003 World Cup winner

Josh Lewsey takes on the Samoa defence on Saturday
Josh was part of England's hard-fought win over Samoa at the weekend

Josh Lewsey continues at full-back for England's must-win World Cup match against Tonga at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Friday. He took time out from his preparations to answer some of your questions.

Q. Do you still have pre-match nerves or you have learnt over the years to control them?
(Nick Hanson, 17, Burton-on-Trent)

A: You always get a few nerves before the game. It doesn't matter whether you are playing for the Lions, England, Wasps or Amersham & Chiltern.

It is all about controlling them. Nerves can be a really positive thing if you channel the energy in the right way, and use them as a positive factor rather than an inhibitory one.

Q: Why is it that rugby players respect the officials more than football players? Is it the upbringing or simply the nature of those who play the respective games?
(John Taylor, 32, Shropshire)

A: It is a cultural thing. Swearing on a rugby field in front of the referee is just not really done. The refs aren't going to change their mind. Some people talk to the referee, but that is different from abusing them.

To be able to communicate with the ref is essential to a good game of rugby. Some of the best refs talk to the players and you have an interactive relationship.

They need to talk to you because rather than giving away penalties in a stop-start game that neither the players want to play in or fans want to watch, it is better the players can react to what the ref is saying.

Q: When you play against one of the best counter-attacking teams in the world like Samoa, do you think it's better to kick the ball into touch rather than straight down their throats?
(Edward, 20, Warwickshire)

A: Generally yes, but there are times when if you feel you can isolate the player, sometimes it is better to keep the ball on the field, or in the air if you think you can challenge the player there because some are better under a high ball than others.

Obviously when your line-out is working, it is the safety option to go to touch. But bear in mind sometimes we want to up the tempo of our game and back our fitness.

We all make mistakes and I missed touch once last Saturday and Samoa ended up scoring from it. I am the first to put my hand up and say that was a mistake.

Q: What's the best practical joke you've seen played on someone and who has been England's joker-in-chief since Austin was put out to pasture?
(Marty Elmore, 29, London)

A: It would probably be unfair to reveal some of the stories about Mark Regan. People laugh with him and at him, but he is great value to have around the camp. You could write a long book about the japes that go on with and around "Ronnie".

Q: Josh, I read that you went to university. What course did you study and did you enjoy your time there?
(Sara, 19, Wolverhampton)

A: I was at Bristol University, and my degree was in physiology. I absolutely loved it there. It was one of the favourite times of my life. I have also subsequently done a post-graduate law degree at a college in London as well.

I did that part-time in the evenings, to stop the brain rotting! I did my final exams as soon as I got back from the Lions tour two years ago, which unfortunately meant I had to do some work when I was away, which was a bit of pain sometimes, but you just have to get on with it.

Q: Last year my mum saw you after a Wasps game and tried to give you my phone number! (cringe). What's the strangest thing a fan has done?
(Helen, 31, Sydney)

A: I wish all fans were as nice as that! One once said it was their mother's 70th birthday, and they lived in Dorset somewhere, and told me: 'It would be nice to have you there - pop along if you are free'. I had absolutely no idea who it was.

Q: I notice all teams taking in vast amounts of liquid at every opportunity including during the first minutes of a game - what is the thinking behind this?
(John Wilson, 21, Portugal)

A: Hydration, simply. If you lose 2% of your body fluids, that will have a significant effect, not just in terms of the possibility of picking up injuries, but on your performance and power output. It is very important.

We use Powerade, which helps give you the right balance in terms of carbohydrate and salt content. You also have to remember that when you are running on grass on hot days, there is a lot of pollen in the air, it is quite dry and your mouth dries out really quickly, especially if you are making as much noise as some of the lads do!

Q: You mentioned in your last Q&A that it is more important what you eat over the last two days before a match. I understand this will vary from player to player but what is it you eat over these two days?
(James Hickman, 29, Basingstoke)

A: You just up your average intake of carbohydrate, specifically complex carbohydrate, especially on the last day before a game. We try to avoid wheat-based carbohydrate as well, because it can absorb a lot of water and make you feel quite bulky.

So we eat lots of rices, and natural products like pulses and beans - low glycaemia-index forms of carbohydrate! On the day of a game I find it difficult to digest a lot of food like vegetables and fruit. You need quite compact forms of energy.

Q: Have you considered playing club rugby outside of England?
(Steve, 19, Newport)

A: Yes. Before I signed my last contract at Wasps, I talked especially to Stade Francais. It is something which really appeals to me. Whether I get the opportunity again, or take the opportunity, I don't know - I perhaps need to have a think about that.

But at the moment I am concentrating on the World Cup, and then I have the remainder of this season with Wasps. That is my focus at the moment.

Q: Who would you have least liked to have marked - Lomu in 1995 or Caucau in 2003?
(Rupert, 21, Windsor)

Josh Lewsey tackles rugby legend Jonah Lomu
Josh may just be one of the few Englishmen to have tackled Jonah Lomu
A: I played against Lomu on the sevens circuit and I also came up against him in 1998. He was phenomenal but I didn't miss a tackle on him, and he was dropped after the second Test at Eden Park.

He had a three-on-one overlap, and he tried to bump this little blond fly-half! (me). I think he tripped up over and spilled the ball and people attributed it to my tackle!

I also managed to get to grips with him when he played for the Barbarians in 2001.

I have never played against Caucau but he is a serious handful. The Fijians are all phenomenal athletes.

Q: What's the most embarrassing thing you've ever done on the pitch?
(Micaela, 14, Staffordshire)

A: There have been a few, all rugby-related! But the strangest thing was probably last year during a game at Wasps' ground in High Wycombe. It is right behind the West Wycombe shooting estate, and there were some birds - partridges - that had been pricked, but weren't dead, on the pitch.

One of them was injured and obviously suffering, so I put it out of its misery, which I know how to do. I asked one of the ball boys to put it over the fence and back into the hedge.

A lot of the Wasps boys are into their shooting and country sports, and sometimes it can be a bit of a distraction during a game when you see the birds coming overhead!

Q: I have seen you play well as a centre. Is it a position you enjoy and how about playing outside Jonny and Olly Barkley?! PS Wadebridge Camels wish you well and would like a masterclass when you are down here sometime - please!
(Martin Eddison, 51, Wadebridge)

A: Every time I go down to Cornwall I end up doing some coaching! It's probably not beyond the wit of man to imagine me at centre for England - I have played everywhere else, including centre on my debut against the All Blacks in 1998! That is where Wasps play me, and I enjoy playing there. I just like to be involved as much as possible.



SEE ALSO
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