English Rugby
Banahan hopes to learn from defeats
ESPNscrum Staff
July 21, 2011
England's Matt Banahan carries the ball into the Barbarians defence, England v Barbarians, Twickenham, England, May 29, 2011
Banahan will bring a physical presence to England's backline if selected for the World Cup © Getty Images

England centre Matt Banahan is adamant that his side must learn from their heartbreaking Six Nations defeat to Ireland if they are to prevail in the knock-out stages of the Rugby World Cup.

The 24-year-old believes that the pain of missing out on a Grand Slam - as well as losses to New Zealand and South Africa in the autumn internationals - could be the difference between success and failure if England are to win their second world title.

"You definitely learn more from the losses than you do from winning," Banahan told the RFU Podcast. "Sometimes the wins can be too easy but you have to learn from he mistakes from the Ireland and New Zealand games.

"They are the games that you have to win when you come into the knock-out stages of tournaments. If you win by one point or twenty points it doesn't matter as long as you do enough to get across the line."

England are currently in camp at Pennyhill Park, where the players' weekly routine is split between four days of intense training and three days' downtime. Banahan - who hopes to make his 12th appearance in the first World Cup warm-up match against Wales on August 6 - is recognising a step up in intensity as England grind through the gears.

"The intensity is going up all the time," he said. "The boys pushed themselves hard throughout the whole of the first three weeks of fitness training. Now we're into the first contact sessions which started with a bang in backs training.

"Everyone knows how important the training sessions are going to be. No one wants to give the coaches any reason at the end of the training period to look back and remember the odd bad day here and there. Everyone has to be at the top of their game and to be flying come the warm-up Tests."

The versatile Jersey-born back has appeared for England in the centres and on the wing, but played down the importance of his adaptability along the backline due to the strength in depth in the squad.

"I think there are a number of players who can play all around the pitch so at the moment I am thinking about training hard and being in the best physical shape possible so that if I am given a chance in a game I will take the opportunity with open arms," he said.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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