The Fisher files


The second weekly update from England U20 star Jon Fisher at the U20 World Cup

Our game against Australia at Newport on Saturday is a huge opportunity for us as a team and as individuals. For me it’s a chance to test myself against the best players in the world at my age. It’s a high-pressure Test match that epitomises international rugby and I don’t think there will be a lot between the sides. If we aspire to go on and play international rugby there couldn’t be a better game to see if we’ve got what it takes.

We believe we’ve got the players who can perform in the high pressure atmosphere. We’ve done so throughout the Six Nations and in the two games in this tournament so far. There are going to be situations in the game when we need to stay fully focused on the task and not get distracted by emotion and letting things outside our control effect our decisions.

Against Canada we scored some good tries in a 60-18 win and for me great to get a monkey off my back and score my first international try at last. I’ve come close a few times in support but never got over.

We made a break, they were caught short of defenders around a ruck and I was able to get through, swat away the covering winger and creep over. Canada was a good test for us because they were physical, full of passion and we needed that going into Australia.

In fact the Australians will present a challenge that encompasses some of the strengths that both Fiji and Canada have. They’ll be direct and physical up front like Canada and also have the ability to throw the ball around like Fiji.

They’re staying in the hotel with us, which is rather surreal as we pass them by in the lobby on the way to training without either side saying much and tomorrow we’re going to be going head-to-head in one of the most confrontational environments you can have in sport.

I hope we can re-enact what the senior England side did in the World Cup. Effectively this is a quarter-final, in the same way that England played Australia in Marseille earlier on this season.

It’s the business end of the tournament and even though we’ve played some great rugby it’s now all about winning by any means – whether we have to kick the corners, use our forward power, or get something extra special from our back three. One moment of greatness, or one moment of inefficiency, can win or lose the game. Sometimes you might need that magic spark, and we’re fortunate that we have a number of players who have the ability to provide that.

After Canada, we had a day off on Wednesday and I used the time going into Cardiff with my girlfriend Mazie and did some shopping – T-shirts and trainers, that sort of thing – and having saved all the money being in camp it was nice to have someone to spend it on.

Back in the hotel the boys switch off with computer games and the table tennis table in our team room. I can report that I’m the table tennis champion and people are asking for lessons. I’ve got an advantage in that I played tennis to a decent standard when I was younger until came to terms with not being able to cover the court quickly enough.

Now we’re into that period of the final day before a big game that is the calm before the storm. Moments of the game will keep creeping into my head but it’s a question of making sure I’m relaxed, know where I have to be and when, and that everything is clear in my mind. If everyone gets things right now and gets their individual roles right on the pitch, we’ll win the game.