RUGBY UNION – Barbeary: England conjures up something you can only dream of

ALFIE BARBEARY admitted his England call-up is “something you can only dream of” after being named to Eddie Jones’ Six Nations roster earlier this week.

The Wasps back row has been rewarded for his good form with a first senior call-up in England and made his fourth attempt of the season against European champions Toulouse last weekend.

Barbeary returned from a long-term injury earlier this season and also made just seven appearances against Gloucester, Munster and London Irish.

And the 21-year-old admits he’s had a crazy week since he received news of his call up in England on Tuesday afternoon.

Barbeary said: “It was pretty mental, I just really couldn’t believe it, it was more disbelief, it’s one of those things you can only dream about, it’s been crazy.

“A lot of people have talked about it, you have to leave that out and manage your own expectations next to your performance.

“It was tough, I would have broken down if I didn’t get in, but luckily that’s not the case.

“I got a few hints from the coaches leading up to it, I was added to a WhatsApp group and that really confirmed it, that was only about 15 minutes before it came out.

“I called my dad before going to another wasp assessment meeting. It was a little awkward, but I was well behind with him after training.”

Wasps have had memorable wins against Leicester Tigers and Toulouse in their last two games, as they look to reach the last 16 of the European Champions Cup against Munster this weekend.

Barbeary added: “We want to do ourselves justice, we’ve only gotten better in the last few weeks, we’re getting going, we were a little complacent at the start of the season.

“There is very little room for error now, we are managing the game better and we are getting results, we just have to keep pushing that, stick to our game plan and hopefully rugby will follow.

“We showed a lot against Leicester in terms of our mentality and grit, every little aspect of that and the mentality around it.

“We’ve been a bit lost when decisions have not been to our liking, we were a bit hectic, and now we understand that no matter what happens in the game, we just have to keep going.

“It’s not up to us, we just have to do our part and that’s putting our bodies on the line.”

Barbeary senses wasps starting to hit their stride and hopes they can carry that momentum into the Munster showdown after a few painful encounters.

He said: “It’s just fun putting together a series of games and getting it right for Wasps. I was lucky those rewards came, I’m very thankful to be fit and healthy, playing rugby and surviving.

“You can only do your best and focus on yourself instead of the opponent. I know we have a big test this week and the last few weeks have been difficult.

“We demand excellence from ourselves and we’re starting to click as a group a little bit more and it shows.

“I don’t know what a test match is like, but I imagine it’s like the Leicester game, your body definitely starts to feel it, it was probably one of the most brutal rugby games I’ve had.

“It’s a tough battle, you just have to fight through it and see how deep you can dig.”

Wasps travel to Munster on Sunday 23rd January with kickoff at 3:15pm in Thomond Park.

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