Rugby World Cup: Mark Wilson hopes England can ‘thrill the fans’ at St James’ Park


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By Chris Jones
BBC rugby union correspondent
Hero Mark Wilson hopes the fans can delight like Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United when they face Italy in St James’ Park on Friday.
It is the first they’ve hosted outside Twickenham, along with the first time England have played a Test match in the north-east.
Originally from Cumbria, Wilson is a”honorary Geordie” having played more than 200 occasions for Newcastle Falcons.
“North-east fans would like to be amused,” Wilson told BBC Sport.
“That’s the major factor for them. [You believe ] back at the nineties if Newcastle football were in their finest – that the fans need to see entertainment.
“Hopefully we could entertain them Friday night”
Wilson joined the academy as a 14-year-old of Newcastle prior to making his Falcons introduction.
After the Rugby World Cup, he will go on loan to Sale After their relegation last year, prior to returning in time for the 2020-2021 campaign to the Falcons.
He believes the next generation might inspire, and says English rugby must continue to support the game in the north of the nation.
“It is important we get behind rugby in the north,” he added.
“It is crazy to think [there’s a Test in Newcastle] – if I was a kid the only way to observe England was down at Twickenham.
“Thus for a whole good deal of these north-east fans they are totally going to be quite excited about watching England on their doorstep.
“St James’ Park is a course place to perform with, and the atmosphere is fantastic. Hopefully people will come from their numbers and fill it.”
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