London Irish centre Jonathan Joseph hoping for further England recognition
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: 26/10/12 12:53pm
Jonathan Joseph is looking to maintain his form at London Irish and cement his place in the England side for the Autumn Internationals, having been included in Stuart Lancaster's 32-man squad.
Joseph was handed an international baptism of fire over the summer as he made his bow on England's tour of South Africa.
Three positive performances against the Springboks suggest he has one hand on a starting berth heading into testing home fixtures against the cream of the Southern Hemisphere.
On his chances of lining up against Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, Joseph told Sky Sports at a 'bake-off' event organised by Aviva which saw players from Irish and Harlequins go head-to-head in the kitchen: "I would be delighted to be involved with it. There is still work to do. I have still got a few games to play for Irish and I have got to put in performances to stand a chance of being involved.
"They are obviously tough sides to play and I will be delighted to get a chance to play against them, it would be quite surreal. That's a couple of weeks away and training will be a couple of weeks away with England, so I just need to keep my head down and play well. Hopefully I will get a chance."
Joseph has been a beneficiary of a changing of the guard at senior international level, with England having moved in a direction different - both on and off the pitch - in the wake of a disappointing showing at the 2011 World Cup.
Joseph said: "There has been a lot of change on the back of the World Cup. Obviously Stuart Lancaster came in and brought in a lot of young boys. There are still the senior boys to lead the way, but fortunately the new coaching staff are putting faith in the younger boys and it's a great system to be part of.
"If you are performing well for your club and you are putting teams under pressure, then you will get the opportunity and chance to play at a higher level. If you are good enough and you perform well then you can step up and play among international players, and you are only going to get better from doing that."
"It would be unreal to play at Twickenham against those kind of countries. It should be a great experience."
He said: "I was able to take back a lot of things I learnt from South Africa with all the internationals back to Irish and have a say with what I think. England will be really good and it will be good to join up with all the boys again. I can then focus on playing well and training well and putting in good performances."
The 21-year-old is also enjoying working alongside another relative newcomer to the international scene in the form of Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi, with the pair working hard to make the midfield spots their own.
Joseph said: "I love playing With Manu. I think he's a great player. He's a sharp ball carrier and great at piecing things together. I think we complement each other quite well."
Should Joseph make Lancaster's starting XV over the coming weeks, he will get the chance to run out at Twickenham in an England jersey for the very first time - allowing him to fulfil a boyhood dream.
He said: "It would be a huge honour to get the chance to play there. It's a massive thing and it's all I've ever wanted. It would be unreal to play at Twickenham against those kind of countries. It should be a great experience."
For now, though, Joseph's focus is locked on helping London Irish continue in their recovery from a slow start to the season - with a dip in form and a lengthy injury list working against the Exiles.
He said: "It didn't start off great, there was some shaky form at first and we had to chase a few games and results didn't go our way, but the last couple of weeks things have changed. Northampton was a massive game for us, we played really well and pulled it out of the bag. Then the last two games we have played have gone really well for us and we have got to move that forward.
"It was tough but we fought through. We got things sorted and now we are going well, we're firing and it should be a good game this weekend (against derby rivals Harlequins)."
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