30 June 2005
Sam Vesty wants to put himself in the firing line for more England honours after playing in the Churchill Cup, but he doesn't want his Tigers team-mate George Chuter anywhere near him.
That's not because the 23-year-old full back doesn't think Chuter is good enough to make the grade - far from it - but Vesty now knows what the Tigers hooker is like with a gun in his hand.
"As well as training hard in Canada we also got some time off to enjoy ourselves. We went sightseeing, jet boating and shooting," explained Vesty on his return to Leicester this week.
"George, Louis Deacon, Andy Goode, myself and our old mate Perry Freshwater had a shooting match and George turned out to be a bit of a dead eyed dick. "I found it quite scary shooting a rifle with live ammunition, but nothing fazed George - he loved it.
"In the end, we all stood behind him and shouted 'not straight' every time he fired. He wasn't amused."
On the pitch, Vesty picked up a try in England's first victory over Canada, but missed the final showdown with Argentina because of a dead leg.
Not that that could dampen his enthusiasm after donning the senior England jersey for the first time.
"There may have been 20+ England players in New Zealand with the Lions, and another handful back home with injuries, but nothing was going to detract from the honour of playing for my country," said Vesty.
"I've lined-up for internationals at Under 18 and Under 21 levels before, but to hear 'God Save The Queen' sung before the game against Canada was a moment I'll never forget.
"The trip has really fired me up for next season. It will take a couple of weeks to fully recover, but my target for next season is to secure regular first-team rugby with the Tigers in the Premiership and Heineken Cup and keep nudging the England selectors.
"Having had a taste of the international scene I would love to experience more of it."