Simpson delights in World Cup call-up
August 23, 2011
Martin Johnson will hope Joe Simpson can recreate his club form on the international stage © Getty Images
England bolter Joe Simpson is relishing the prospect of turning out against the best the world has to offer at the Rugby World Cup despite his lack of international experience.
The uncapped Wasps scrum-half was a surprise inclusion in the squad announced by Martin Johnson on Tuesday with the 23-year-old the beneficiary following an injury to rival No.9 Danny Care.
Simpson, who has been on the fringes of the squad this year, admits his ascent to the senior side is something he has dreamed of but is adamant he will put any notion of sentimentality to one side in his bid for international honours.
"I was over the moon it's something I have been working towards for the last two years in particular and something I have been dreaming about since I signed a professional contract," Simpson told the BBC Sport.
"I got very luck with Danny's injury - it was something you never want to see happen but I wish him the speediest of recoveries. Danny is a massive loss but it's something I can't dwell on. I need to push on and take my chance and make myself and the team proud."
Sydney-born Simpson believes his selection is not a gamble and has backed himself to carry his impressive domestic form onto the Test match stage. "I wouldn't consider myself a wildcard. I like to play an expansive game and make breaks that other scrum-halves couldn't make," Simpson said.
"I like to enjoy myself on the pitch and I hope to just play my game and more importantly England's game. I want to play first and foremost as part of the team and win matches. I won't do anything off the cuff - it will be all by the book for me."
And Simpson, who scored a try on his Saxons debut against Argentina Jaguars in 2009, can expect to be involved in some capacity as England wrap up their World Cup preparations against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday. Despite the enormity of the situation, Simpson will try to remain grounded.
"I try not to get too worked up or nervous before the matches," Simpson said. "I like to enjoy them, stay bouncy and have a good time. I will keep to my pre-match routines and not change much. Obviously there will be added pressure but it's something I can deal with."
With England taking just two out and out wingers to the World Cup, in the guise of Mark Cueto and Chris Ashton, along with wing/outside centre Matt Banahan, Simpson may be asked to deputise on the flank due to his electric pace. And the scrum-half admits he is confident he can perform for England in any position.
"I've had to cover on the wing for Wasps last season and I feel comfortable doing it. And I am used to defending on the wing. I will play for any position England want me to and do a job so long as I get to pull on the jersey."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
We bring you our pick of the best pictures from around the world in the last seven days with the battle for Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup glory taking centre stage
"If you listen carefully you should be able to hear them mining the granite for the statue of a certain Jonny Wilkinson" Graham Jenkins reports from the Heineken Cup Final
Quade Cooper's defence is better than it was 12 months ago and Robbie Deans has erred in omitting him from the core Wallabies squad to play the Lions, Greg Growden writes
"People on the outside think unfounded thoughts on Toulon." Tom Hamilton talks to RCT lock Nick Kennedy ahead of Saturday's Heineken Cup final against Clermont