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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 October 2007, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
Josh Lewsey Q&A
Josh Lewsey
Josh Lewsey
England back and 2003 World Cup winner

Josh Lewsey will play on the wing for England in the World Cup quarter-final against Australia in Marseille on Saturday. He took time out from his preparations to answer some of your questions.

Q. Having read the rather callous statements from Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill, I was wondering what are your views of the rivalry between England and Australia?
George Cazalet

A. If you don't mind, I'd prefer to avoid the subject. There have been a lot of words going back and forth and would rather concentrate on the rugby.

The mood in the camp is positive. We have got through the pool stages and the experiences of Ireland and Wales have shown achieving that it is not a guarantee nowadays.

These so-called "lesser nations", specifically the Pacific island countries, have improved immensely. There are no easy games anymore.

Josh Lewsey
Lewsey played full-back for England against Tonga

Last weekend's performance gave the boys a lot of heart and being in the quarter-finals you really feel as if you are in the tournament now.

To play one of the best teams in the world is a real challenge. You have to get excited about that. World Cups do not come around every day.

The morale is good. The guys have been away from home a long time now but the families and wives came over at the weekend and it was quite nice for all the guys to have a day off.

Most of the lads went to Disneyland and it was quite entertaining seeing all the big lumps going around on the rides.

It was nice to get away from the rugby. It is important to switch off. It has been a pretty intense couple of weeks, particularly after the South Africa game.

But you can sense an upping of the tempo now, and there is a bit more excitement around. We are in Marseille and the centre of a big city, you feel the buzz.

In the pool games we were away from the centres of Paris and Nantes but we are in the heart of things now and you get the feeling the tournament has really kicked off.

Q. We met you on the evening of the England v Samoa game. I was very impressed with how you and several other players were genuinely interested in what the fans were up to. How aware are you of the efforts some supporters go to and do you ever wish you could get more involved with the fans?
Rushers (of banana-wearing AbRushers Tours).

A. Very much so. When I was away with the Lions I used to take myself out, even by myself sometimes, and have a drink with a few fans around the corner because for me that is part of the enjoyment of the whole process.

One of the sad things with professionalism is that, because of the sheer numbers of people, players are cocooned away from the fans.

During the pool stages we were based away from the towns and there were very justifiable reasons for that. I am not saying it is a bad thing, but on the flip side it is quite nice to embrace some of the excitement and euphoria that goes along with the tournament.

England prop Andrew Sheridan
England prop Andrew Sheridan is a formidable force

There has to be a balance with that and getting on with your work and being able to focus on the job in hand. But certainly at the right time and place it is something I enjoy and I wish we had more opportunity to do so.

Q. Out of the current England squad, who would you least like to get on the wrong side of for fear of physical injury?
Aidan

A. There are some lumps here in our squad so I try to stay away from most of them! If I had to pick one name that is strong enough to pull your limbs off it is probably Andrew Sheridan.

And then you have the little guys, who are a little bit more feisty. So there aren't many guys that play top level professional sport that you would want to mess with I reckon.

Q. Is it true that both your parents are Welsh, and that you could have played for England or Wales. And if that's so, how do you feel about making the wrong choice?
David Giddings

A. (Laughs) Well, the simple answer to that one is that I was never asked to play for Wales so that situation did not arise. My mother is Welsh, speaks Welsh and my father is half Welsh. I am very proud of my Welsh heritage but it is not a civil war, it's a sport and a job as well.

I was born and brought up in England and I don't think anyone can claim I don't play with due passion for the shirt.

Q. Which do you find more satisfying, scoring a great individual try or crunching someone into the middle of next week?
James Rollinson

A. That is a very good question. Scoring individual tries is great but it always has to be about the team. I was brought up playing mini rugby and I was used to setting people up for tries. It is important for coaches to publicly praise players who do that.

Q. I have read a lot about rugby players starting their careers at, for example, prop and making their way around the positions, perhaps finishing as a number eight. What positions did you play when you were younger?
George Dale

A. I played fly-half all the way through school. I was number 10 and captain for most teams I played for and was the main decision-maker. It was only because I could run reasonably well that I was moved back to full-back when I first went to Bristol.

Since then I settled into the back three but I have also played a bit at centre with Wasps. I think that as I was brought up making the decisions, I have opinions about how the game should be played. People who have played in the back three all their lives perhaps don't necessarily express those views quite as much.

Q. I have just torn knee ligaments while playing rugby, what has been your worst injury?
George

I could make a long list of injuries but the worst one is my back in 2003 when I had a bulging disc. It affects everything you do.

Q. Have you ever fancied playing rugby league? I have watched you play and think that you have all the qualities needed to play (ie: speed, strength, toughness).
Stephen Tobin

A. Yes, I did think about it a while back. It is a brilliant game and I would have loved to have played it. It is now too late to make that switch but it is a game I really would have enjoyed.

Josh Lewsey (left) and Mat Rogers
Lewsey and Rogers have had a few scuffles

Q. I remember watching you destroy Mat Rogers in 2003. What is the hardest you've ever been tackled and who was it by? Did it hurt?
Dan

I have had my fair share of hits! The one I do remember was from Inga Tuigamala. I was blindsided by Kenny Logan and I had lifted my arms to reveal my ribs and Inga came in and knocked me into next week. I couldn't breathe for about five minutes. I thanked Kenny for that one!

Q. Do negative media reports ever get you or the team down? The English media seem quick to build a team up, but pull no punches if a match is lost. It can make scathing and unfair reading - especially if you know you gave 100% on the pitch - even if the game didn't go so well. Is that sort of stuff easy to shrug off?
Cat Cassidy

A. It is a about whether you decide to read it and whether you decide to pay any attention to it. When times are good you get the benefits of people being over sensational and telling you how well you played - even when you haven't - and you expect the flip side of that.

Generally, the sporting pages are reasonably fair and you take the rough with the smooth. You just have to get on with it.

With regards to England, we are the wealthiest union in the world, we have more player resources than anywhere else, so we should not be satisfied with mediocrity. We aim to be the best team in the world and when we are not, people will ask why we are not good enough? I don't think there is anything wrong with that.



SEE ALSO
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06 Sep 07 |  English
Josh Lewsey's column
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