Lund eyes regular England place

Magnus Lund is looking to build on his experiences with England this summer to secure a permanent place in Andy Robinson's squad ahead of next year's World Cup in France. [more]

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Magnus Lund is looking to build on his experiences with England this summer to secure a permanent place in Andy Robinson’s squad ahead of next year’s World Cup in France.

The highly rated flanker was one of Sale’s leading players in their Guinness Premiership-winning campaign last season and he deservedly claimed a berth in the England squad for the two-Test tour to Australia in June.

He forced his way into the starting line-up for the first Test, playing 57 minutes before being replaced by Joe Worsley, while he came off the bench a week later for the second game.

Although disappointed to see England lose both matches, Lund – who was recently named in England’s Elite Player Squad for the 2006-7 season – was privileged to have received a call-up and is desperate to be part of future selections with the World Cup just 14 months away.

"It was difficult, losing and being over there at the end of a long, hard season," he said.

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"There was quite a lot of frustration but I was absolutely chuffed to be out there in the first place.

"Playing for your country is tremendous and just to make the squad was a great achievement for me.

"I’m absolutely delighted to have been picked again. It’s a pleasure to be in there and it’s great news individually.

"Hopefully it will progress to further things but at the moment, I’m just knuckling down."

Lund was dropped to the bench for the second Test against the Wallabies to accommodate Worsley in the back row but when Lewis Moody withdrew from the game just before kick-off, Lund was expected to be the natural replacement.

Robinson instead opted for Bath flanker Michael Lipman, who was not even in the original 22.

Lund is now eager to show the selectors they were wrong to have ignored him.

"I was disappointed not to have made the team for the second game but you’ve just got to accept things like that," he added.

"You can’t really control it once it’s been done. Hopefully I will get another chance and prove the selectors wrong."

England will go into the 2007 World Cup as reigning champions but recent results suggest they have their work cut out if they are to repeat their feats of three years ago.

Lund, however, was impressed with the spirit within the national-team squad and maintains there is more to come from the side.

"There’s still quite a long time to go before the World Cup," he added.

"The momentum is starting to build. There was a good team spirit during the summer, and the players have been together a few years now.

"A good core has been put together. A couple of things just need to click into place and you could see a good England team in the tournament."

The 23-year-old will be hard-pressed to repeat the season he had for Sale in the 2005-06 campaign.

Together with Scotland captain Jason White and French juggernaut Sebastien Chabal, the Sharks’ back row proved to be an unstoppable unit.

Lund, known for his ability to absorb information from his coaches like a sponge, appreciates a number of people will be monitoring his progress this season.

"The pressure doesn’t just come from outside but from myself as well," he said. "You always want to improve on what you’ve done in the past and as a young guy coming through, you want to improve every season.

"I’ll keep working hard during pre-season and when the games start to come, I want to be hitting the road running again. The team does as well so hopefully so it’s a massive year for both of us."

He added: "It’s absolutely delightful to play with Sebastien and Jason. It makes my job a hell of a lot easier.

"I just have to walk round, sneak under the radar and pick up the pieces after those two have been smashing holes in defences!"

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