HE MAY not be the favourite to pull on the number 13 jersey when England’s Rugby World Cup campaign gets underway later this year, but Elliot Daly is hoping his stellar form for Wasps could haul him into Stuart Lancaster’s plans in September.
The 22-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough season in the Wasps midfield, running out 20 times at outside centre and scoring five tries, getting nominated for the Premiership Discovery of the Season award in the process.
And while he is still yet to earn a full England cap, Daly made his first appearance for the Red Rose against the Barbarians in England’s thrilling 73-12 victory in May.
But the young gun is not done yet and he is determined to work as hard as he can as part of England’s 50-man World Cup training camp this summer.
“Last season went really well for me,” said Daly.
“I loved playing at No.13 the whole season for Wasps, and hopefully I can take some of that form into this camp and see what happens.
“It really helps coming in here with a bit of confidence, but until we really start playing a bit more rugby it’s all about getting my head down and working hard at the fitness.
“You always have to think about the fact that the squad is going to get cut down, but for the time being it’s not right at the front of our minds, especially as it is mainly fitness work and we’re not doing as much rugby as we will be in the coming weeks.
“It’s been a lot of fitness testing, games, getting everyone together in the gym and that kind of thing. Everyone is pushing each other at the moment and getting the best out of each other.”
Lancaster’s squad will be cut to just 31 at the end of August in time for the autumn showpiece, with the likes of Jonathan Joseph, Brad Barritt, Luther Burrell and Billy Twelvetrees all competing with Daly for
limited spots at centre.
But for the time being the England boss is aiming to make the side ‘the fittest in the world’ with a gruelling summer programme, including two weeks of altitude training in Denver starting next week.
And Daly is confident all the hard work will stand him in good stead for next season, regardless of whether or not he makes the grade for the Red Rose.
He added: “It’s been really good so far but tough. It’s exactly what you’d expect from being in a World Cup training squad.
“Everyone has to be at the level of physical shape that’s required, and we are being pushed really hard in that aspect.
“As a team we want to be the fittest in the world, and everything we are doing is working towards that.
“Whether it be the diet, recovery, or the training itself, everything is massive at the moment.
“Everybody has taken it on board and wants to be the fittest and best side. It’s a case of doing what we’re told by the coaches, and they are confident that will get us where we need to be.”
Elliot Daly was appearing alongside his England team mates at the launch of the innovative England Rugby World Cup shirt #CommittedtoEngland. Visit Canterbury.com