Josh Bassett revealed he thought England’s ‘save the date’ email for this summer’s internationals was spam selling him tickets for the games.
A run of nine tries in Wasps’ final 12 games of the season saw the winger named in Eddie Jones’ 34-man training squad ahead of the summer Tests against USA and Canada and an uncapped game against Scotland A.
“I got an email on Monday afternoon that said England summer series,” said Bassett,who made his 150th Wasps appearance in the defeat to Leicester Tigers. “I thought it was offering me tickets to buy!
“Then I opened it, and I kind of had to read it twice. I jumped up and said to my Mrs, I said ‘I’ve been put in the England 50-man squad, the save the date!’ I didn’t think too much about it, I knew the final squad was coming out Thursday.
“I got added to a WhatsApp group Thursday morning. I’m really excited but I was focused on the game this week, that’s the main thing, sending the boys off the way we should. We didn’t get the result, but I am happy for us to be in Europe next season.”
Bassett has scored for England at Twickenham Stadium, but in an uncapped match against the Barbarians in 2019 and does not have a senior cap to his name. He admitted that the latest call-up had more significance than the previous experience.
“The Baa-baas one I did with the England XV, that was led by Jim Mallinder,” he said. “That was really exciting but Eddie [Jones] was in the background. It’s exciting to go in with him in charge, to see what he wants. With the end goals there, it’s exciting. With so many uncapped lads, I am really excited to get in there and learn.
“I’ve spoken to Eddie a couple of times in the England XV week, just briefly, I am excited to hear where he thinks I can develop. Hear where he thinks I can get better. As well as the other coaches in there, fresh coaches with fresh eyes on me, fresh S&C, it’s exciting to see where they think they can help me. I want to keep improving.”
Injuries to Joe Launchbury, Jack Willis, Paolo Odogwu, Tom West and Alfie Barbeary denied Wasps of five players who would’ve been in contention for international honours this summer, but Bassett still heads to the England camp on Monday with team-mates Dan Robson and the fellow uncapped duo of Jacob Umaga and Tom Willis.
“Last week I was calling Tom the saviour after his man-of-the-match performance and scoring a hat-trick,” added Bassett, scorer of 61 Wasps tries. “These lads have worked so hard over these 18 months. They’ve had a baptism of fire, coming in and having to do a job with the midweeks, and they’ve just excellent with it, they’ve got the reward they deserve to get these opportunities to go in, learn, experience what it’s like to be in the England environment. They will cherish every moment, I know they will, and I am excited for them.”
Bassett is the oldest player in the initial squad which did not feature players from Exeter Chiefs, Bristol Bears, Sale Sharks, Harlequins or Saracens – as their seasons are not yet complete. The prospect of a first cap excites the 29-year-old.
“First thing first, I’ve got to get through the training week,” he said. “But if that opportunity comes, that’s why we play the game. To wear the rose on your chest, sing the national anthem at Twickenham with fans back in, it just sounds exciting, it gives me goosebumps talking about it. If that opportunity comes, it’s something I’ll definitely cherish.”