Charnley won’t hold back against mentor Richards

Josh Charnley insists he will not hold back if he faces former Wigan team-mate Pat Richards on Saturday – despite crediting the ex Man of Steel with playing “a huge role” in his rugby education.

England need a win against Ireland after falling to defeat in their Group A opener against Australia last week.

Charnley said: “If I get the go ahead, it’ll be great to play against Pat. He’s a good player, he taught me a lot while I’ve been at Wigan and he’ll be a sad miss. He’s had a huge role in my rugby education.

“Him and Amos Roberts helped me out a lot. I take my hat off to them, but once we get on the field we’ll be enemies.”

But Charnley is determined not to underestimate Richards, who he has only played against once before – when England faced the Exiles this summer.

Charnley said: “He’s lethal in the air. He can climb about eight foot and he’s a strong ball carrier when he’s bringing it back from the back three. He’s got a lot of strong points and we’ll be focusing on them through the week.

“We had a bit of banter in the EnglandExiles game, but it means business now. It’ll be good to play against him and try to get one over him. He’s taught me a lot. He’s a good bloke, a good role model, a good leader and a good family man.”

Charnley believes England can go on to win the World Cup, despite Saturday’s 28-20 defeat against the Kangaroos.

“We’ve trained hard for three years for that game, and we had them for the first 20 minutes.

“Towards the back end of the first half we gave away too much ball and they took advantage of that, but we know we had them. The plays we put on troubled them.”

Charnley finished the season with more than 40 tries to his name as well as Challenge Cup and Grand Final medals on his mantelpiece.

A glance at his fingers gives some clue to his drive, with the words LIVE LIFE tattooed across his hands.

“That’s my motto,” he said. “I’ve had them about three years. I’ve done everything I can with Wigan this year, and the World Cup is the next step and the next chapter.”

And away from the action, Charnley admits to doing his best to keep spirits up at England’s Loughborough base.

“There are days when people are tired and don’t have energy, and I try to take it on myself to entertain everyone. I just prat around and try to lighten up people’s days. Everyone’s had a chuckle so far.”