Ahead of England’s inaugural match in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, we caught up with Christian Wade – unlucky not to make the final World Cup squad – to get his thoughts in the build up to the big kick off.
So Christian, it’s been billed the “Pool of Death”, with three super powers from the world of rugby in England's group. And with Fiji, it just adds extra spice don’t you think?
Definitely. You can’t really write Fiji off. I think this is probably the best the team has looked in quite a long time as well. They’ve got some big powerhouses out there coming through. They’ve got some skilful players and they look pretty organised. I think having them in the first game could be interesting. Hopefully we’re ready to go, as we could get caught cold if we’re not careful. I think they might create an upset at some point as well, so everyone’s got to treat it as another top team. I don’t think they are going into it thinking they are going to win but Fiji are a definite wild card.
What do you think England chances are in the tournament?
Yeah. I think we’ve definitely got the quality in the team to unleash the kind of strength and depth, and call people in if there are any issues, to go and do a job. It’s all a difficult one. It’s going to be about who makes less mistakes, which is pretty much the main thing for any team at international level.
If we play our game and get into our pattern and our shape, and we force errors on the other teams through our defence, then I think we can definitely go and do a job on everyone, really. There’s no team in there where you would say that we’re definitely not going to win, if you know what I mean.
And how important will the home crowd be in games against Wales and Australia?
I haven’t had the privilege of playing in the first team at home but I was speaking to the boys coming in, and they were saying the crowd is literally like a sea of white shirts. They’ll all wear a rose and the noise is absolutely ridiculous. I’ve heard the bus, walking into the changing rooms and then walking out onto the pitch.
The roar was massive and I know that does heaps for the boys, in terms of raising their spirits and making them energised. When they get to that fiftieth, sixtieth, and seventieth minute, whatever’s happening in the game, that noise and cheer from the crowd is going to lift the boys and give them that extra kind of urge that they need. I know the English are supporters and will be backing the boys massively. The boys won’t want to let them down, so they’ll be working their nuts off and working really hard, just to put out the performances they want to, and get the results we need.
Finally: players we should look out for during the tournament?
Damian de Allende. He’s worth keeping an eye out for. He wasn’t in the Springboks squad last year. He plays centre. He’s been absolutely carving up with his footwork, his hand skills, and his strength; his size as well. I think he’s going to be a player to watch in the World Cup. Also, Nehe Milner-Skudder, the new full-back who plays for the Hurricanes and now for the All Blacks. He’s been playing really well this season.
To meet Christian and ask him your own question, join us at The George, Twickenham on Friday 2 October at our Men United World Cup Q&A.