Kay fires Pumas warning to England
June 8, 2009
Ben Kay is hoping to repeat England's 2002 victory in Argentina this weekend © Getty Images
Lock Ben Kay has warned England's young guns to expect a hostile reaction when they touch down in Argentina for the second Test against the Pumas in Salta on Saturday. Kay was part of the side that registered a 26-18 win over Argentina at Velez Sarsfield in 2002, one of his most prized career memories, and is expecting a tough time from the boisterous home supporters.
Kay is joined in repeating the experience by Lewis Moody and Steve Thompson, who will no doubt have words of warning for their inexperienced team-mates.
"I played in 2002 in Buenos Aires, which is still one of the best moments in my career," he said. "It was a great stadium - a football ground that was enclosed - but it was more about the atmosphere generated by the fans.
"The whole stand bounced up and down, people were banging on the fence and the odd starting pistol went off. It was a really intimidating atmosphere, yet in a good way. Most players like a noisy stadium, regardless of whether they're jumpy or not. As soon as we won the game the fans were fantastic, clapping us off the pitch."
Martin Johnson's men set off for Argentina on Sunday, and will spend two days in Buenos Aires before heading to Salta, in the foothills of the Andes. Kay looks set to feature after being limited to a cameo role in Saturday's 37-15 win at Old Trafford and is relishing the opportunity to repeat the feats of seven years ago.
"We went down there with a weakened side. A lot of the senior guys took the opportunity to have a rest that summer," he said. "Of the regular starters probably only myself and Phil Vickery went. Steve Thompson played in that game but he was just breaking into the squad.
"We turned them over with them having beaten a very strong France side, who were Six Nations champions at the time, the week before - which we went to watch. It was a moment I was very proud of - plus I scored a try, which I don't do very often for England. Argentina is one of my favourite places to go and I'm looking forward to reliving that experience.
"I haven't gone into this season hoping to get England recognition because in my experience you don't play that well when you're worried about who's watching you. It's been important for me to enjoy myself and view anything else as an added bonus. I knew I wasn't totally out of the running but I wasn't going to worry about not playing again. I'm very proud of my career and a lot of people don't get the opportunities I've had."
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin