Rugby World Cup: Chris Robshaw - England must handle occasion

By Chris JonesBBC Radio 5 live rugby reporter
England ready to go - Lancaster
Rugby World Cup
Hosts: England Dates: 18 September-31 October
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England captain Chris Robshaw says handling the size of the occasion will be a crucial part of the hosts' World Cup opener against Fiji at Twickenham.

Robshaw leads the same starting XV that beat Ireland 21-13 in England's final warm-up match.

The flanker, 29, says the players know Friday's game (20:00 BST kick-off) will be different to any other.

"We are under no illusions as to exactly how big it is going to be," he told BBC Sport.

Twickenham will stage the opening ceremony for the World Cup ahead of the match.

"We've spoken a little bit about what to expect, and what's different. The warm-up is going to be slightly different because you can't go on the actual pitch," said Robshaw.

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"But as players it's about going out there and playing our game, and trying not to get too caught up in the emotion.

"Of course it's going to be a fantastic show for everyone else in the world, but as players we've got to focus on doing a job, and putting in our best performance."

In the past week, England have had their World Cup send-off party at the O2 arena - featuring Take That - before a welcome ceremony at Sandhurst, and Robshaw says the two events have shown the huge support the team will receive over the course of the tournament.

"When you see how much support is out there, then it definitely makes you feel like something bigger is happening," he added.

"We've got a country behind us and we are really looking forward to it.

"Hopefully we can go out there and make a lot of people very proud over the next couple of weeks."

A dream come true for Brown

Mike Brown
Mike Brown missed the rest of the season after he was concussed in the Six Nations game against Italy

Full-back Mike Brown agrees the players cannot be overwhelmed by the scale of the event at Twickenham.

"It's about keeping a lid on the emotion a little bit," he said.

"You don't want to be too over-excited because then you'll go off-page. So it's about sticking to our game-plan."

After missing out on selection in 2007 and 2011, Brown says playing in a World Cup is the fulfilment of a childhood dream.

"Picking up a ball at the age of six after watching the 1991 World Cup - when England actually got to the final - ever since then I have always wanted to play for England in a World Cup," the 30-year-old told BBC Sport.

"It's been a dream of mine. So to do that on Friday will be extra special."

'Proud to be English'

Head coach Stuart Lancaster has attempted to instil in the squad a belief that winning the Word Cup need not be just a dream - helped by a video-based presentation given at their Surrey training camp on Sunday.

"I was trying to build their belief that they can go on and win the tournament. Not in an arrogant way, but in a positive way," Lancaster said.

Centre Brad Barritt said: "It was a fantastic meeting, quite moving for every player. Everyone left feeling a bigger part of something special and feeling really honoured to be a part of this ride.

"The video showcased a young player coming through the ranks, dreaming of playing for England and playing in a home World Cup."

Lancaster felt the morale-boosting presentation could help his players to celebrate their Englishness - and feed off the home support.

"It has to be an extra level of motivation. We are not as front foot as we should be in our pride at being English," he said.

"We must sell the message to the players of what's to come and just to go and experience the time of their lives."

Burgess dismisses league return rumours

Sam Burgess carries the ball in his rugby league days
Sam Burgess played for rugby league side South Sydney Rabbitohs between 2010 and 2014

Centre Sam Burgess, meanwhile, has denied reports he is set to return to rugby leagueexternal-link after the end of the tournament.

The 26-year-old played for Bradford Bulls and South Sydney Rabbitohs before switching codes last year, but says he has no plans to return to the 13-man game.

"There is no truth in it," he said. "I haven't had a word from Australia. I don't know where it has come from but it's definitely not true.

"Let's just crack on because I haven't heard anything. Once I made the decision to come over, one of my goals was to play in this World Cup and it's here now.

"I have just got to get out there and do my bit for the team and this country. I will give it my heart."