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Kay warns England to expect hostile welcome



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Ben Kay has warned his England team mates who have not played in Argentina yet to prepare themselves for a hostile reception but says that the last time he went there it was one of the highlights of his career.

The Leicester lock is one of three survivors from the team that beat Argentina on their last visit to the country which was seven years ago.

On that day Kay was joined by current England squad members Steve Thompson and Lewis Moody who were captained by Phil Vickery who led a second half comeback that saw England win 26-18 at Velez Sarsfield in 2002.

Kay says that he has vivid memories of the boisterous and colourful home support driving Argentina forward and Kay says that he is eager to repeat the experience.

“I played in the 2002 in Buenos Aires, which is still one of the best moments in my career,” he told PA Sport.

“It was a great stadium – a football ground that was enclosed – but it was more about the atmosphere generated by the fans.

“The whole stand bounced up and down, people were banging on the fence and the odd starting pistol went off.

“It was a really intimidating atmosphere, yet in a good way. Most players like a noisy stadium, regardless of whether they’re jumpy or not.

“As soon as we won the game the fans were fantastic, clapping us off the pitch.”

England won the first of the two match series at Old Trafford but they must now travel to Salta which is in the foothill of the Andes, for the second Test.

Martin Johnson is expected to name his team on Wednesday and Kay is likely to be named somewhere in the team possibly to start after he was only given four minutes in last saturday’s match.

If selected Kay will win is 62nd cap for England and experience may be just the ticket for such a hostile environment.

“We went down there with a weakened side.” Kay recalled of his last visit.

“A lot of the senior guys took the opportunity to have a rest that summer,” he said.

“Of the regular starters probably only myself and Phil Vickery went.

“Steve Thompson played in that game but he was just breaking into the squad.

“We turned them over with them having beaten a very strong France side, who were Six Nations champions at the time, the week before – which we went to watch.

“It was a moment I was very proud of – plus I scored a try, which I don’t do very often for England.”

“Argentina is one of my favourite places to go and I’m looking forward to reliving that experience.”

“I haven’t gone into this season hoping to get England recognition because in my experience you don’t play that well when you’re worried about who’s watching you,” he said.

“It’s been important for me to enjoy myself and view anything else as an added bonus.

“I knew I wasn’t totally out of the running but I wasn’t going to worry about not playing again.

“I’m very proud of my career and a lot of people don’t get the opportunities I’ve had.”

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