27th May, 2022

RUGBY UNION - Barbeary: England call-up something you can only dream of

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

 

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

 

Barbeary returned from a long-term injury earlier this campaign and has also touched down against Gloucester, Munster and London Irish in just seven appearances.

 

And the 21-year-old admits he has had a crazy week since he received news of his England call-up on Tuesday lunchtime.

 

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

 

“A lot of people have spoken about it, you have to blank that out and manage your own expectations alongside your performance.

 

“It was hard, I would have been gutted if I didn’t get in but luckily that isn’t the case.

 

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

 

“I rang my Dad before heading into another Wasps review meeting, it was a bit of an awkward one but I had a good catch-up with him after training.”

 

Wasps have secured memorable wins against Leicester Tigers and Toulouse in their last two fixtures 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 got better in the last couple of weeks, we’re hitting out stride, we were a bit complacent at the start of the season.

 

“There’s very little room for error now, we’re managing the game better and we’re getting results, we’ve just got to keep pushing that, stick to our gameplan and hopefully the rugby will follow.

 

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

 

“We’ve lost our heads a little bit when decisions haven’t gone our way, we’ve been a bit frantic, and now we’re understanding that whatever happens in the game we’ve just got to get on with it.

 

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

 

Barbeary feels Wasps are starting to hit their stride and hopes they can carry that momentum into the Munster clash after a couple of bruising encounters.

 

He said: “It’s just nice to put a string of games together and start doing well for Wasps, I was lucky enough that those rewards have come, I’m very grateful that I’m fit, healthy, playing rugby and surviving.

 

“You can only front up to your best ability and focus on yourself rather than the opposition, I know we’ve got a big test this week and the last couple of week’s have been hard.

 

“We demand excellence from ourselves and we’ve started to click a bit more as a group and it’s showing.

 

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

 

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

 

Wasps travel to Munster on Sunday, January 23 with kick-off at 3.15pm at Thomond Park.

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