sport

Joseph out to emulate Guscott

England centre Jonathan Joseph welcomes comparisons to Jeremy Guscott but knows the real challenge is to live up to them.

Guscott won 65 England caps over a 10-year career, he played in eight Tests for the British and Irish Lions and is considered one of the great centres to have worn the red rose.

But the prospect of emulating an icon of English rugby is not one that daunts Joseph, who will return to the national squad for Saturday's QBE international against South Africa.

Guscott enjoyed one of his career highlights against the Springboks, dropping the goal that sealed a Test series triumph for the 1997 Lions.

"I quite like the comparison. I've been told it a few times and it's great to be compared to a player like Jeremy Guscott. It's a great honour," Joseph said.

"I just have to keep working hard on what I am trying to bring to rugby and my game.

"I'm different to a few of the centres we've got and the coaches know that. It's about getting my game as good as it can be.

"It's great for me to learn off Mike Catt and Andy Farrell and the senior players.

"I like getting the ball in my hands, creating space for others and myself and using footwork.

"That's my best attribute but you have to get front ball to do that. It's getting the right balance."

Joseph made his debut against the Springboks on the summer tour but missed the Tests against Fiji and Australia after suffering an ankle injury just before England's pre-autumn training camp.

It was bad timing for Joseph, who was hoping to retain the outside centre jersey after helping England to a 14-14 draw with the Springboks in Port Elizabeth.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster will confirm his line-up tomorrow but Joseph seems likely to return to the fold on the bench, with Manu Tuilagi and Brad Barritt the starting centres.

Joseph is relishing the prospect of locking horns with the Springboks again, this time on home soil, and of winning his first cap at Twickenham.

"My timing doesn't seem to be that great with injuries. You just have to get back as quickly as possible. I'm ready to go now," Joseph said.

"It's a huge honour to be involved in a Test match against Twickenham. It will be awesome

"We know what they're going to come with. They are a very physical side that brings a lot of intent.

"We have to match that early on and not let them get on top of us like they did in that second Test in the summer.

"We played a lot smarter in the third Test. We have to show real intent ourselves and get off to a good start. I think that's important for us. We have quite a bit of variety."