“It was intense”: Furbank on his dramatic rise from Cambridge from the third layer to playing for England
“It has been intense, it was heavy, but I enjoyed it”: George Furbank on his dramatic rise from Cambridge to the third layer to England
- Furbank played the third level of English rugby three years ago
- England completely underwent a fire baptism against France at the Stade de France
- The 23-year-old is the man in possession of No. 15 jersey during the Six Nations
Three years ago, one of George Furbank’s biggest considerations was whether he remembered his cheese and wine for the boozy away games.
He played for Cambridge RUFC in the third level of English rugby, trained twice a week and faced teams such as Macclesfield and Blaydon.
Fast forward to 2020 and Furbank is the man in possession of England’s No. 15 sweater.
England fully back George Furbank played the third level of English rugby three years ago
“It never occurred to me to play for Cambridge in England,” says Furbank, who was loaned by Northampton. “Those two years there have helped me a lot. It was my first true taste of rugby for adults. Cambridge trained on a Tuesday and Thursday evening and we played a game on Saturday.
“The cheese and wine socials on the bus were fun – all of Cambridge! I still only played 30 games for Northampton, so I didn’t expect a call-up … it’s a bit surreal. “
Furbank also spent time on loan in Nottingham in the championship and played for small crowds. His debut in England, by contrast, was in a sold-out Stade de France. The Parisian audience was so loud that Furbank could not hear instructions from his teammates. The first half was the worst in England since 1988 and the faultless defeat was a baptism of fire.
The 23-year-old is the man in possession of England’s No. 15 sweater during the Six Nations
“It was intense, it was tough and it was a challenge, but I enjoyed it,” Furbank said.
“The nerves went well on Sunday morning in France. It was different from everything I had played before.
“You must have your head on a turning movement because you cannot hear each other. That was all a bit crazy and potentially I let that come to me a bit during the game. Eddie [Jones] said if you want to be a world-class full-back, you have to do the basics very well.
“Every one or two games open something for you and you look really good. So just keep focusing on those basic principles. I feel settled more. “
The Northampton full back also spent time on loan to Nottingham in the championship
He added: “Singing the national anthem is something you dream of. I grew up with Rugby and Lewis Ludlam, so it was a very special moment to be next to him.
“Having my parents come to the changing rooms to see how I grabbed my cap was also special.” Furbank’s second test, against Scotland, was overrun by Storm Ciara.
The full-back completes a geography degree in addition to rugby and the weather conditions in Murrayfield were worthy of a case study.
Regarding bus trips, the combination of cheese and wine has not been notified by the UK nutrition experts.
Because he was part of a Take That tribute band at school, Furbank was unable to escape the traditional ritual of singing a song for his teammates last Saturday. “It was American Pie, Don McClean … don’t take it!”