Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lewsey: Last Year Has Been a Dream; Countdown to First Test

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lewsey: Last Year Has Been a Dream; Countdown to First Test

Article excerpt


ENGLAND World Cup winner Josh Lewsey epitomises the attitude that brought London Wasps a Heineken Cup and Zurich Premiership double.

Now that total commitment to the cause will underpin England's attempt to defend their World Cup winning reputation against New Zealand in Dunedin on Saturday at the start of three hugely demanding Test weekends.

The Second Test with New Zealand in Auckland is followed by a World Cup Final rematch with Australia seven days later, which constitutes a desperately difficult end to 12 months Lewsey will never forget.

A Parker Pen Cup and Zurich double with Wasps was followed by tour wins over New Zealand and Australia in their own back yards, victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup and then the Heineken and Zurich double.

Such an unprecedented run of success has left him slightly dazed.

"No, I don't believe the last 12 months have really sunk in," said Lewsey.

"It is a real privilege to be part of two successful teams, England and Wasps, and maybe it would be nice to sit down and reflect on what has been achieved.

"But, we are here in New Zealand and that's what I am focusing on.

The other stuff can wait until I get a break - or when I retire."

At the moment, his only concern is knocking over those All Blacks and he knows the feelings are mutual.

"In this part of the world there are no hiding places and we are really popular down here after winning the World Cup.

"What we all know is that unless we meet fire with fire we will get stuffed.

It's as simple as that."

Getting stuffed in New Zealand and Australia is something Lewsey knows all about, having first tasted international action as a member of the depleted England squad on the Tour from Hell in 1998.

"Six years is a long time in rugby, but between the ears I believe I am still the same guy," he said. …

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