'Like waking up on Christmas Day' – Josh Bassett on England experience

Date: 6 Jun 2019

Wasps’ Josh Bassett had a dream debut in an England shirt when he scored for them in their 51-43 win against Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday.

The winger, who enjoyed a fine season in the Black and Gold touching down for 11 tries, went over in the 11th minute for the first of England's six tries on the day.

And he admitted he received some interesting advice from former Wasp James Haskell after the game.

Bassett revealed: “He said I needed to work on my dive! I've messaged him saying thanks for the nice comments, but I said I'll work on my diving for him. Maybe he could show me how it’s done!”

It was an enjoyable experience overall for the 27-year-old, from singing the national anthem at the home of rugby and his parents in the crowd, to the build-up during the week of the match.

He stated: “It's a dream come true. You want to be at the home of rugby, singing your national anthem. It was a great day and topped off with the win.

“I had my mum and dad there, it was great to have everyone there. For them, seeing me play at Twickenham, singing the national anthem, is something they've always wanted to do. It was great to be able to do that for them.

“It's only the third time I've played there. Playing at Twickenham doesn't come around that often. You've got to enjoy it and embrace it when you can.

“You get your shirt, your programme. In the England camp, you get all your kit and everything which is exciting, it's like waking up on Christmas Day - all that new kit and getting to wear the rose on your chest. I loved every minute.”

For Bassett, his experience in an England shirt has whetted the appetite for more.

He explained: "I definitely think it's made me a better player and once you've got the taste for it you want to be involved with it more and more. Hopefully if I get my head down and work hard those opportunities will come. 

"I definitely don't feel that I've reached my potential yet in rugby and I still think there's opportunity for me to improve. It's the perfect environment for me to do that in."

Fellow Wasp Tommy Taylor joined Bassett in the squad as he came on in the 63rd minute, and they faced future Club teammate Malakai Fekitoa who started at outside-centre for Barbarians.

Bassett claimed: “Even before the game we always knew he was going to be a great addition next year. He is pure class. Being an All Black doesn't come lightly.

“We're definitely excited for him to come. I was fortunate enough to play against him and see what he could do with the ball in hand and defensively. I think he is going to be a great addition to the Wasps squad.

"Me and Tommy spoke to him after. He's really looking forward to it and he can't wait to get started and get working with the lads.”

Bassett paid tribute to his roots and Wasps after receiving messages from his former clubs in the run-up to the match.

He added: "I had well-wishers from Ampthill where I first started and then from Bedford. It's great to hear from these people. I keep a close eye on what they're doing.

“For them to do that to me means a lot. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't have got to where I have. They've certainly had a big impact on my rugby journey. All I can do is thank them for that. 

"I am also fortunate to have been at Wasps to be able to get this chance and am thankful to the Club for the opportunities I’ve had over the past six seasons."

Bassett revealed that he was with his wife and son when he received the call – and said he had to change his summer holiday plans pretty promptly!

He explained: “I was with my Mrs and my little lad, we were very excited.

“Unfortunately we'd actually booked a holiday to Dubai so I said to my wife ‘You can take your sister now!’

“They still went and had a good time so it was all good.”

Catch Josh Bassett in action for Wasps next season in all 16 home games with a Season Membership from as little as £200 for adults and FREE for under 10s.