Charnley set to tackle his pal Richards

England's Josh Charnley celebrates his try against Australia
England's Josh Charnley celebrates his try against Australia

JOSH Charnley expects to have his hands full as he prepares for a Saturday showdown with Pat Richards.

The winger’s duel with his former Wigan team-mate is shaping as one of the most intriguing subplots to England’s World Cup match against Ireland.

A sell-out 25,000 crowd and a BBC TV audience will watch the action at Huddersfield as both sides seek their first win of the tournament.

England are the heavy favourites, but winger Charnley says the Irish have the players capable of causing an upset - including Richards.

He said: “We’ll not be under-estimating them, Ireland have got some quality players in there and we’re preparing for a tough match.

“I’ve already sent Pat a text message. It’ll be interesting if we get to play against each other - hopefully I’ll get the chance.

“Everyone knows what he’s capable of, and how good he is. I played against him before in an Exiles match, and at training, we’d mark up all the time so it’d be nothing new.

“But it’d be good to play against him in a World Cup match, especially with it maybe being the last chance I play a game with him.”

The World Cup has so far been regarded as a success by many, with sell-out crowds, strong TV viewing figures and many entertaining matches.

“I’ve enjoyed watching it, it’s been a good competition and the games have been going well, and it’s good to be a part of it,” said Charnley, who scored an incredible 43 tries for Wigan this year.

“There are some really good players, and they’re everywhere you look.”

He also crossed for England in their battling 28-20 defeat against Australia at Cardiff, ruthlessly punishing a Billy Slater dropped ball.

“We’ve just got to complete out sets better, we were sloppy at the weekend and made too many errors,” said the 22-year-old.

“There were some positives to come from it.

“It’s another week and everyone’s excited.

“It’s a sell-out – Ireland will have some fans and we’ve got a lot there. It should make for a good atmosphere.”

Three teams from Pool A qualify for the quarter-finals. England’s last group game is against Fiji, while Ireland face Australia.