- Bath Rugby tighthead eager for spell on centre stage
- “Argentina have a conveyor belt of good front-rowers” – Wilson
David Wilson has had to bide his time in Stuart Lancaster’s England set-up, but the Bath Rugby tighthead now has a gilt-edged chance to demonstrate he can be far more than a worthy understudy.
Stuck behind Dan Cole for the majority of his international career, Wilson’s 26 Tests have included just four starts – the last of which came in a 26-13 win over Samoa back in November 2010.
However, having translated his exceptional end-of-season club form into an eye-catching run out against the Barbarians last month, the 28 year-old may have more of a central role in the upcoming Argentina series.
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Indeed, Wilson acknowledged that this double-header with the Pumas could provide the opportunities his patience deserves.
“I guess it’s been frustrating playing off the bench,” he said. “I still feel privileged to have won so many caps, though. Hopefully now I can play well and keep building to give Stuart Lancaster some options.
“Towards the end of the year [with Bath] I’ve enjoyed having the ball in hand a bit. That’s been very encouraging but you’ve got to perform well every single game. You can’t accept having a low for one game so you just have to keep it up.”
With Rec colleagues Rob Webber and Dave Attwood also staking significant claims for involvement over the next fortnight, Wilson suggested that club familiarity could be a major boost to the tourists’ cohesion up front.
And as a veteran of England’s last visit to Salta four years ago – which saw a 24-22 defeat – he possesses valuable experience of combating the Argentina’s pack-orientated game in a hostile environment.
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While Santiago Phelan has rested some of his more recognisable names, Wilson was reluctant to let complacency creep in ahead of a potential show-down with Brive loosehead Pablo Henn.
“They have got a good conveyor belt of front-rowers and they’re not short in the size department,” he explained. “Most of their props have got a wealth of experience in the Top 14, so it should be a great match.
“Playing in Salta there is altitude to think about as well, so we’ll probably be blowing a bit. In 2009, the atmosphere was unreal. The stadium was great and the fans were very passionate. The game was tough and fast but a pleasure to play in.”
Coming on as a replacement to face Puma talisman Rodrigo Roncero that day, Wilson’s considerable set-piece abilities were tested to their absolute limit, a feeling he expects to encounter again as he steadily works towards the “dream” of representing England at Rugby World Cup 2015.
“That is [Argentina’s] first port of call – they’ll scrummage and scrummage and scrummage. They won’t let off at all. If you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile.”
“I’ve got a bit more experience now, so hopefully I can make the most of any game-time. I want to give people the confidence to select me from the start or put me on earlier so I can be a benefit to the country.”