RUGBY : Ayoola Erinle insists he is ready to lead England in a full-frontal physical assault on New Zealand after being selected to make his full Test debut at Twickenham on Saturday.
Ayoola Erinle insists he is ready to lead England in a full-frontal physical assault on New Zealand after being selected to make his full Test debut at Twickenham on Saturday.
The direct, powerful Biarritz centre was the one surprise inclusion in an England side shaped by manager Martin Johnson to try and bludgeon New Zealand into submission rather than cut them to shreds.
“It is one of the tougher games to make your starting debut in. It is a baptism of fire but I will rise to the challenge,” said Erinle.
“I am no Shane Geraghty, there won’t be any razzle-dazzle or throwing miss-passes. The coaches have picked me for my size and strength and my more abrasive game.
“Nonu is very much a threat. The onus is on us throughout the team to be on the front foot in defence.
“There is a great weight of responsibility given we haven’t played to our best in the last two games (against Australia and Argentina)
“There will be a lot of pressure on the team but I think we will rise to the challenge. We can take the game to them as teams like South Africa and Australia have done in the past.
“You have to get into them, don’t take any backward steps and don’t be afraid of the fact they are New Zealand. Yes, they come with a big tag but get into them and disrupt them.
“New Zealand are renowned for their ferocity at the breakdown both in attack and defence but we have been working on that because we need to be watertight in that area.”