- Lock eager to enhance England set-piece
- "It is going to be awesome and something that I can look back on" – Parling
Ahead of his first Test start, a delighted Geoff Parling has explained the attributes that he hopes to bring to England’s RBS 6 Nations clash against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday.
Having featured from the replacements’ bench in the hard-fought victories over both Scotland and Italy, the Leicester Tigers lock is eager to make a more lasting impression from the outset.
"I’m really pleased," he smiled. "I’m excited about the chance to get stuck in and I just hope that I take it now.
"I’ve been waiting a while and it is something I am really looking forward to. It’s going to be awesome and hopefully in the future, running out at Twickenham and beating a good Welsh team will be something that I can look back on."
Admitting that he has picked up the label of a "lineout nause," Parling continued to give a detailed explanation of his responsibilities at the set-piece, especially given the vulnerability that Warren Gatland’s charges have shown in that area over the course of their first two matches.
"The lineout is about a pack performance and hopefully I can come in and bring in some new plays and calling," explained the 28-year-old. "If you look at the other games, we actually won a lot of ball under pressure, but maybe our delivery wasn’t as good as it could have been.
"If the delivery isn’t decent enough, the backs can’t get into any sort of flow or pattern. We always say that the lineout isn’t over until the ball is in the fly half’s hands, so every bit of it – the drive or a peel, for example – is important.
"Someone told me earlier that they think I’m like a throwback to the 1970s. I didn’t know how to take that, but I think it means that my focus, as a second row, has been the set-piece area, then the rucks. Everything else comes after that."
Photo: Getty Images
After forcing his way into the side, Parling also praised the open-minded approach of new Interim Head Coach Stuart Lancaster, who has clearly given each of his players a clean slate:
"In a lot of the training that we do, there is an opportunity to show what you’re about. There isn’t much bag-holding, it’s very player-on-player and team-on-team, which means there’s always a chance to show your skills.
"It’s very encouraging, because it means that you’re always fighting and training is always competitive. That will always bring out the best for the games."
Parling left Newcastle Falcons in 2009, but was unfortunately stalled by a knee injury that enforced a tedious nine-month lay-off. However, now back to full fitness and reaping the rewards of a move to the East Midlands, he finished by outlining his desire to increase his tally of caps.
"The move to Leicester has definitely done me the world of good," Parling said. "The whole environment there is harsh, so it sets you up to combat anything.
"The quality of player there is great too, and there is a great off-field set-up so that all you have to concentrate on is playing rugby. I’m really pleased with how things have gone.
"Last year was very frustrating but now I am looking forward to having a good, injury-free run and cracking on for the reason of the season."