Lewsey wants fixed position

Josh Lewsey has pleaded with England's rugby chiefs to make their minds up on what is his best position and stick to it. [more]

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Josh Lewsey has pleaded with England’s rugby chiefs to make their minds up on what is his best position and stick to it.

The Wasps star has been shifted around the back line for England since making his debut at centre against New Zealand eight years ago.

He played on the wing in the World Cup final in 2003, despite wearing number 15, and has done much of his best work at full-back, most notably last weekend when he produced what defence coach Mike Ford described as "the best-ever tackle at Twickenham" to deny South African centre Jean de Villiers.

As he prepared for the final autumn international against South Africa on Saturday, 30-year-old Lewsey said: "I’ve been shifted around all over the shop. I just want to settle in one spot.

"If the goalposts change every week it’s very difficult to set your objectives and goals. You won’t get the best out of me.
But I accept you have to work within the coaches’ framework."

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Typically, Lewsey brushed aside the accolades he has received for his try-saving tackle, a hit which many have claimed could have saved the job of England head coach Andy Robinson.

Lewsey said: "Whether that is the case or not I don’t know. But your job at full-back is to mop up things that come through. I was expecting him to step inside me. I saw the try line in the corner of my eye and thought I’d better make the tackle soon.

"He was a big old lump. If you tackle someone from behind he will just slide in. You have got to try to bump him as well and get as much impact as you can by coming in from a certain angle.

"I’m not a big lad so I had to hit him as hard as I could. In the end it came down to a few inches. He must be kicking himself that he didn’t score.

"People have made more of it because it was dramatic in a close victory."

Lewsey, however, is confident England can build on their narrow victory after an autumn schedule which has seen them lose to the All Blacks and Argentina.

He said: "Of course I can see light at the end of the tunnel. Four tries against New Zealand was a step forward.

"We want to play this brilliant, aesthetically-pleasing rugby but sometimes you just have to grind out a victory. We didn’t care how we won it, it was just about winning the game."

Lewsey was reluctant to give a verdict on England’s chances of retaining the World Cup.

He played a part three years ago, but said: "I’m not Mystic Meg. All teams go through phases of evolution. And you learn a lot about yourself in adversity.

"The 2003 team was mentally tough but that came out of many disappointments such as losing a World Cup quarter-final.

"We’re having our disappointments but it’s all about getting the best out of the team on the field as consistently as possible. Guys like Phil Vickery are key.

"Last week was a hard-fought win. South Africa are a very difficult team to play against. We didn’t care how we won it."

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