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 expects England can delight the fans such as Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United when they face Italy in St James’ Park on Friday.
It’s the very first time England have played a Test match and the first they have hosted outside Twickenham.
Initially from Cumbria, Wilson is a”honorary Geordie” having played over 200 times for Newcastle Falcons.
“North-east fans want to get amused,” Wilson told BBC Sport.
“That is the major thing for them. [You think] back in the nineties when Newcastle football were in their best – the fans want to see entertainment.
“Hopefully we can entertain them on Friday night.”
Wilson, 29, combined the academy as a 14-year-old of Newcastle before making his own Falcons debut in 2010.
After their relegation last year, he will go to Sale on loan after the Rugby World Cup.
He states English rugby have to continue to support the game at the north of the nation, and believes the conflict with the Azzurri could inspire another generation.
“It is important we get behind rugby in the northwest,” he added.
“It is crazy to think [there’s a Test in Newcastle] – when I was a kid the only means to see England was down at Twickenham.
“So for a good deal of those north-east lovers they are all likely to be quite excited about seeing England in their doorstep.
“St James’ Park is a course place to play, and the air is excellent. Hopefully people will come out in their numbers and fulfill it.”
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