England boss Stuart Lancaster admits that after weeks of preparation he is looking forward to pitting his side against the best teams in the world in the upcoming QBE internationals series.
Lancaster’s last game with the national side was way back on June 23rd when his team played out a well-deserved draw against the Springboks in South Africa.
November 10th for England’s next game will have seemed like an age away for the head coach on that flight back from the southern hemisphere but their first game against Fiji next month is edging ever closer.
Betfair Rugby Union markets has them as overwhelming favourites for that encounter, though the challenge from the other three southern hemisphere sides is expected to be much tougher.
There have not been too many real surprises in Lancaster’s selection, with only Saracens prop Mako Vunipola set to make his debut for the national side in the upcoming game against the Pacific Islanders.
Should he impress, then a start against South Africa, Australia or New Zealand is a possibility, as Lancaster looks to defy the England v Australia Rugby Union betting and plot a victory against the Wallabies, who are well fancied to triumph.
The 21-year-old, who was born in New Zealand, has worked his way through the England youth system and has certainly earned his place in the full squad, after some impressive performances in the Aviva Premiership and Heineken Cup so far this term.
Vunipola will add some rawness and hunger into the front-row, which could do with a dynamic prop who will not be afraid to run at defenders.
Meanwhile Harlequins winger Ugo Monye is set to make his first appearance for England since 2010 and after his efforts with Quins, the British and Irish Lions star will be a welcome return to the squad.
The anticipation is already growing and Lancaster is looking forward to getting the squad together.
He said: “As a coaching team we can’t wait to go into camp and get the guys focused on what will be a massive challenge in the QBE Internationals – Fiji and then the three major Southern Hemisphere teams in successive weeks.
“We have been impressed with some of the rugby we have seen in the Aviva Premiership and Heineken Cup and are looking forward to the players bringing that form to Twickenham.”