- Beaumont focused on Portugal after defeat last year
- Everyone is really excited about the challenge – Beaumont
Photo: Tania Richards
Newly appointed England Students captain Josh Beaumont insists that his side are more than capable of beating Portugal on today, kick off 3pm, and is confident of delivering against a strong IRB-affiliated outfit.
After three very near misses against the 22nd ranked nation in the world, the latest a 31-28 defeat 12 months ago – a game in which Beaumont featured – the Durham University student and Sale Sharks player is looking to lead his team to victory.
“Everyone is really excited about the challenge that lie ahead and the boys have come together very well in a short space of time,” he said.
“There is an element of development and learning as we’re all young players at the start of our careers but we are very much going out there with the mindset of getting the win.
“They’ll obviously be strong and have some experienced heads in their ranks but we’re going to play to our strengths. We’re a fit, energetic side with a lot of skill across the squad and we’ll certainly be taking the game to them.
Beaumont is the senior name in amongst a totally new-look unit, led by head coach James Farndon and team manager Phil Llewellyn. The No.8, who impressed on his recent debut for Sharks in a Heineken Cup clash against Montpellier, has been named captain and is relishing the responsibility that comes with the role.
“It’s an honour to be asked to lead the team but with that privilege come certain duties. I’d like to think my experiences in captaining Durham University and playing for Sale will stand me in good stead. The fact I also played against Portugal last year means I know what’s coming and hopefully I can pass a few bits on to the boys.
“Ultimately it’s not about me but about the group as a whole. We have three days in Lisbon before the game and they will be extremely valuable; it is imperative we are all singing off the same hymn sheet come kick-off. We want to play a brand of rugby that is exciting and good to watch and are very keen to show off what we are capable of."
Portugal has named an experienced squad for the game at the Estadio Universitario de Lisboa on Saturday afternoon, including No.8 Vasco Uva. Capped 80 times to date, Uva captained his country at the Rugby World Cup in 2007, winning the man of the match award in the pool loss to Scotland.