Phil Vickery urges England stars to seize the moment during Autumn Nations Series

Vickery was in attendance at the launch of the RFU's Play Together, Stay Together campaign at Aylesbury Rugby Club (REUTERS)

By Ben Hart, Sportsbeat

Phil Vickery is urging England’s rugby stars to seize their window of opportunity and propel themselves into the frame for selection ahead of next year’s World Cup.

The former Wasps prop, 46, earned 73 England caps throughout a glittering career that culminated in World Cup glory in 2003.

England host Argentina, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa this November in a bumper Autumn Nations Series campaign at Twickenham.

And Vickery is buzzing to see the current crop of English talent take to the hallowed turf after an encouraging series victory over Australia in the summer.

He said: “I’m looking forward to seeing international rugby played again to be honest, I’m super excited by the Premiership this year, I think we have some fantastic talent.

“Then this autumn, we’re not far away from the Rugby World Cup, I know we’re not talking about that because we have lots to go before with the Six Nations and everything, but it’s a real opportunity.

“I think if you said to me when are you most excited when in an England shirt, knowing that you are a year out and you’ve got the potential to represent your country at the Rugby World Cup would be right up there.

“There is so much talent and so much ability and I would love to see that come to fruition and to see the boys go out off back of the summer tour, where I’ve heard mixed reviews about in terms of performance.

“But they were 1-0 down in the series and came back to win it 2-1 – alright, they might not have played brilliantly, but it takes guts, desire, determination and attitude, and for me, having been in some pretty great teams, talent is one thing but if you haven’t got that desire, it is nothing.

“I’m excited to see where this England team goes and it all starts in this Autumn Nations Series.”

As a former prop himself, there is nothing that excites Vickery more than front row firepower – and in Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler he believes there is no better duo in world rugby.

Vickery, speaking at special event alongside James Haskell and Mike Tindall at Aylesbury RFC as part of the RFU’s ‘Play Together, Stay Together’ initiative, added: “Ellis Genge, particularly by the way he has played and moved last year from Leicester - a lot of questions were asked about that.

“But he has a lot more responsibility and he has great character.

“I love character, I’m a bit prickly myself and got that raging bull nickname, but look, yes he has a story, yes he has the name, but he does it on the field though, that’s why he has the name.

“I tell you now, when those two are on form, there is no better combo in the world, and I hope they can start to transition that form through into the England set-up and really start to push that team because when those two are rocking it, I get so excited as a front row forward.

“They’re both inspiring characters too, but as a proud Englishman, I want my team to go out there and show people what they’re made of and goodness me, we have some wonderful talent.

“So go out there and show it, celebrate it, and play with a smile on your face, work hard, graft - go out and go for it because everyone is behind you!”

The RFU’s Play Together, Stay Together campaign is aimed at reminding rugby fans of all the benefits that come with playing rugby. Whether it’s the physical benefits of regaining your fitness, or the mental benefits of being surrounded by a like-minded group of people, there’s always a reason to head back to your local club.