Declan Rice reveals how the Rugby World Cup has changed England’s mentality – and insists Gareth Southgate’s ‘group of winners’ will fear no-one at EURO 2024
- England booked their place at EURO 2024 with an impressive win against Italy
- Declan Rice and his national team-mates have been takign tips from rugby
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’
- Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results
Declan Rice insists England will fear no-one at Euro 2024 and wants Gareth Southgate’s side to take inspiration from the Rugby World Cup.
England beat Italy 3-1 on Tuesday to seal their place at the finals in Germany next summer, where the 2020 runners-up will once again be among the favourites.
It will be 58 years since the men’s senior team lifted a major trophy but – after improved showings in recent tournaments under Southgate – Rice believes the hurt could finally come to an end.
‘There is no need for fear,’ he said. ‘Even though we went out in the World Cup (quarter-finals), it was like we took another step in terms of the way we played against France.
‘We lost in the final of the Euros. I think the main thing is that we are all getting a bit older, we are all getting a bit more mature. The group is performing amazing. By the time the Euros come, hopefully we’re all in a good moment.
Declan Rice (left) and England booked their ticket to EURO 2024 with an impressive win against Italy on Tuesday night
England crashed out of the World Cup to finalists France in a game they had the better of
New Zealand pulled off a miraculous 28-24 victory over number one ranked side Ireland
‘We can do big things. I think since the World Cup the reaction has been amazing in terms of the challenge with the group. The challenge to obviously qualify which we’ve done.
‘We have enough winners in the group and the mentality is amazing but it is down to us. We can talk about it as much as we can but we know as players it is now time to step up.
‘We went to Naples and won in Italy for the first time in ages. We beat Italy at Wembley after they beat us at the last Euros. Big performances. We’re ready. Mentally.
‘We were watching the rugby the other night and seeing how those top teams like South Africa, Ireland went out but they are the number one team in the world, New Zealand…that mindset of getting over the line.
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Will Jordan (left) scored a crucial try for New Zealand against the run of play in the second half
Southgate will be hoping to take England one step further than their EURO 2020 campaign
‘That is what we’re now starting to achieve. We have all the talent but it is about that mindset and the drive to be the best and to win.’
Southgate has long been a fan of New Zealand’s approach to rugby union and Rice revealed the manager will often discuss the All Blacks when chatting to his squad at St George’s Park.
‘He’s met them a few times. He speaks about them,’ added the Arsenal midfielder.
‘We’ve had some people in before to do some talks. Not only the All Blacks. England as well, South Africa. How to get over the line.
‘How to do things differently and how to have that mindset of ‘We ain’t getting beaten. No matter what’.’
Rice may not be the biggest rugby fan but has enjoyed watching matches with his team-mates.
Seeing unfancied England now set to face South Africa in the World Cup semi-final on Saturday, he is keen for Stephen Borthwick’s men to inspire their own charge for glory next year.
Stephen Borthwick’s unfancied England side are set to face South Africa in the World Cup semi-final on Saturday
‘It’s been really entertaining. It’s just been on, in general,’ he said.
‘I’m not really the biggest of rugby fans but the games that I watched the other night have been gripping. I think you see towards the end, Ireland had, like, 35 attacks in the last wave and New Zealand were on the line.
‘We can take lessons from that, even though it’s a different sport. We can take lessons from the fact that it’s about leaving everything out there.
‘If you want to win, you’ve got to do everything mentally and physically. All the subs that came on to the pitch, they all knew their roles.
‘There was a lot of inspiration to take, especially from our England side as well, who were written off a lot and they are showing a lot of fight and character, as well. There’s lessons to be learned in other sports, for sure.’
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