London Irish winger Marland Yarde has admitted he is "ecstatic" to get the chance to play for England so early in his career.
Despite early season struggles for Irish, Yarde went on to impress by scoring seven tries as the Exiles responded to a relegation battle by finishing in 9th place.
Part of a rapid backline this Sunday against the Barbarians alongside Christian Wade, Jonathan Joseph and Mike Brown with Jonny May and Kyle Eastmond on the bench, Yarde insists the England squad are treating Sunday like a Test match, despite the free-flowing Barbarians' traditional style of play.
"It's an opportunity I've waited a while for and I can't wait to get out there," said Yarde.
"There's a lot of new boys but also guys who have been here for some time, and they have helped us to fit in. It's been a massive week for me.
"We're treating it like a Test match and solely focusing on ourselves. We just want to play to the best of our ability and put in a good performance."
Yarde stated that his breakthrough into the national side had come on the back of more experience playing on a weekly basis for Irish in the league, with the Exiles struggles benefiting his game.
"Energy, work-rate and physicality are all things I've worked hard on in my career so far. This season I think playing consistently every week and the experiences of that have paid off - we were not always on the front foot in a tough season, but hopefully we can start better next time.
"I didn't think too far ahead and was just focusing on Irish, knowing that if I consistently played at my best at some stage I would hopefully get the call. I'm ecstatic that it's come this early."
Irish have seen plenty of stars including Joseph, England prop Alex Corbisiero and England Saxons lock Matt Garvey leave the club at the end of the season, but Yarde praised their professionalism following the announcement of their departures and is looking forward to the arrival of some "tough" new signings, whilst also confirming he is happy at the club.
"As a team it was a tough first half of the season and we struggled a bit, but from the turn of the year everybody stuck their hand up and that helped my personal performances. We're a building side and hopefully next season we can come out a lot stronger," stated Yarde.
"All the players who are leaving were focused on doing their best. Fair play to them - they never went off the boil and that's all you can ask from professional sportsmen. People move on in sport but now it's about rebuilding and we have some good tough players coming in. London Irish have got me to this point and I'm very happy with them and looking forward to next season."
Yarde will run out with Wade on Sunday, after the London Wasps flyer picked up the RPA Players' Player and Young Player of the Year Awards earlier in the week on the back of an outstanding campaign. The exciting combination could steal the spotlight at Twickenham on Sunday.
"I'm good pals with Christian and have known him now for a number of years. He's done fantastically well this season and obviously gone and picked up a few awards this week, so fair play to him. We're working hard and training well so hopefully that will show on Sunday."
by Ben Coles