As Land Rover announced that they have become an Official Sponsor of Rugby World Cup 2011 and a Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2015, we spoke to their ambassador Josh Lewsey about England’s recent performances.
Rather than suggesting that England’s impressive victory against Australia was a flash in the pan, Lewsey was confident that their fortunes had changed.
“I’ve been really impressed and really pleased. I think there’s been a bit of a turning of the tide.”
The 2003 World Cup Winner could attribute three factors contributing to their success: “One, the interpretation of the laws have changed which forces teams to play rugby. Secondly, we’ve had the emergence of some fantastic new players with youthful exuberance that want to play some rugby, and finally, and most importantly of all, they’ve got the environment right. One gets the impression that the players are now aligned to what the coaches want, and vice versa.”
“We’ve got class in this country, it’s just that until recently we haven’t been very effective in getting the best out of them in an international jersey. There’s been a mindset change of ‘let’s take the game to these teams and see what happens’. You realise actually that as we put our firepower down and get the best out of the players, and they play as they have been week in week out, we’ve got a formidable outfit with quality and depth across the board.”
We briefly discussed the year ahead, and the fact that England fans can now look forward to the Rugby World Cup much more than they were a few months ago, and Lewsey was clear on where England need to go from here.
“There are going to be games when you have to win ugly or win pretty, it doesn’t matter. It’s about being able to develop that game and being able to choose the one that’s most suitable to that occasion to winning the game. That’s the sign of any good side.”
Turning to this weekend’s Investec International match against South Africa, Lewsey was upbeat about England’s chances, saying “I think they will win on Saturday, I feel confident they’ll win” before caveating it with, “South Afrcia are still a formidable outfit. Don’t have the wool pulled over your eyes because they lost to Scotland. Class teams never play badly twice in a row, and they’ll be coming out very vengeful.”
“I still expect England to win, but if they don’t, it’s not the end of the world. Let’s look at where they were twelve months ago. If we’d have lost narrowly to South Africa, that would have been seen as an achievement. For me it’s about the performance as well as the result, not just the result, and continuing to build on the fantastic work they’ve done this autumn.”
“I’d be going out there to play some rugby, as they have done. It’s how they play best, it’s how they want to play and it’s what the crowd want to see. Play some rugby and take it to them.”
Josh Lewsey was talking on behalf of Land Rover who have become an Official Sponsor of Rugby World Cup 2011 and a Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2015, extending a long-standing heritage within the sport. For more information visit www.landrover.co.uk/rugby