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


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From Chris Jones
BBC rugby union correspondent
Hero Mark Wilson hopes England can delight the fans if they face Italy at St James’ Park on Friday.
It’s the very first time England have played a Test match in the north-east, and the first they have hosted in a couple of years outside Twickenham.
Originally from Cumbria, Wilson is an”honorary Geordie” having played more than 200 times for Newcastle Falcons.
“North-east lovers want to get entertained,” Wilson told BBC Sport.
“That’s the big factor for them. [You think] back at the nineties if Newcastle football were at their finest – the fans just want to see amusement.
“Hopefully we could entertain them Friday night”
Before making his own Falcons introduction in 2010 wilson, 29, joined the academy as a 14-year-old of Newcastle.
Following their last year, he will go on loan after the Rugby World Cup, before returning in time to get its 2020-2021 effort.
He believes another generation might inspire, and states English rugby must continue to encourage the match at the north of the nation.
“It is important we still get behind gaming in the north,” he added.
“It is crazy to think [there’s a Test in Newcastle] – when I was a child the only means to see England was down at Twickenham.
“So for a good deal of those north-east fans they are all likely to be quite excited about watching England on their doorstep.
“St James’ Park is a class place to play, and the atmosphere is excellent. Hopefully people will come from their numbers and fill it.”
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