Neil Jenkins believes England will “work ways out” to deal with the pressure and expectation that accompanies being a World Cup host nation.
England kick off the tournament against Fiji at Twickenham tonight, and former Wales star Jenkins knows from personal experience that host nation status brings a different dimension.
Wales were principal World Cup hosts 16 years ago, launching the competition against Argentina in Cardiff, and Jenkins said: “I certainly felt it (pressure) back in 1999.
“We were the host nation and we had had a pretty good year, so there was a fair bit of pressure on ourselves.
“It was a strange day, if I remember rightly. The whole day, with the opening ceremony and not being able to go out on to the pitch and warm up our kicks before the game, meant it was different.
“We had to warm up inside and do things a bit differently, but it was a huge occasion. It was a tough, physical game, but one we managed to get through.” Fiji are unlikely to be fazed by what awaits them on Friday night, then Wales are next up for England eight days later in a first major 2015 World Cup showdown.
“There will certainly be a lot of pressure on England, that’s for sure,” added former Wales fly-half Jenkins, who amassed more than 1,000 points during his Test career.
“They are the home nation and they are expected to do well, so there is a huge amount of pressure on them, without doubt. There was on us in 1999,” he added.
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