There have been plenty of highs and lows for Cumbrian Mark Wilson throughout the course of his 2019.

The former Penrith Rugby Club junior was part of the Newcastle Falcons side which were relegated from the Premiership last term. He then helped England reach the Rugby World Cup final, making his World Cup bow against the United States, before their 32-12 loss to South Africa in the global showpiece.

Now on club duty with new team, Sale Sharks, Wilson is looking to the future.

He will, however, have to wait to make his debut for the club he joined on loan for their 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership campaign after undergoing knee surgery which is expected to rule him until around Christmas time.

The 30-year-old was one of the Sharks players who returned to the club’s training ground for the first time since the World Cup a fortnight ago. For Wilson, and team-mate Tom Curry, it was a welcome distraction as the pair continue to come to terms with the World Cup final defeat their side suffered in the early stages of last month in Japan.

But the duo are not being allowed to forget the defeat in a hurry by one particular Sale team-mate, Faf de Klerk, one of the chief orchestrators of that Springboks success, who reminded Curry of what he could have won by draping his World Cup winner’s medal over his club-mates’ shoulder at a team meeting in Carrington.

When asked if he had received any treatment of a similar nature from the 28-year-old, flanker Wilson replies: “No, not much so far, really.

"But I hear he has been giving Curry a lot of grief.”

It has been a real roller-coaster of a year for Wilson who has enjoyed recently spending some rare downtime with his family.

“Over the last couple of weeks, I have been at home, and I’ve just been spending time with my family and my kids,” he explains when asked what he has done since the conclusion of the World Cup.

“I have been thinking back [to the World Cup] at times, but this is my first day here. It almost feels like my first day at school. I feel a bit of excitement.

"I’m really pleased to be here and and it’s refreshed my mind. I have a new challenge ahead and that’s exciting."

“Look, there will probably be periods over the next few months – or maybe couple of years – where I might look back and think about that [the World Cup final loss],” Wilson adds.

“But you have to move on, don’t you? I need to attack my next challenge.

“Right now, my next challenge is getting fit, and then, doing my best for Sale.”

At the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama, Wilson came off the bench to make his third World Cup appearance in the final but he couldn’t stop South Africa, as they won the Webb Ellis Cup.

Wilson admits: “I suppose it’s a tough one to analyse and break down.

"But, in the end, I think what Eddie [Jones, coach] said afterwards was exactly right. We didn’t turn up like we had done in the other games.

"Sometimes, that can happen. You approach a game and think your preparations have been great but, sometimes, it just doesn’t click on the day and, very much, I feel that was the case for us."

The next major tournament on the international calendar will be the 2020 Six Nations and, although Kendal-born Wilson is likely to miss the start of that competition after undergoing surgery, Wilson believes England, led by Eddie Jones, can come back stronger after their World Cup campaign disappointment.

He insists: “The future looks good for English rugby, especially after what we achieved at the tournament.

“I’m pretty sure it will leave lads that were part of that squad with loads of motivation to go to the next one [World Cup] and right the wrongs of that final.

"I think we can take confidence from what we did well throughout the tournament, as well. Yes, in the final, we didn’t get over the line.

“But there will be loads of experience that lads have taken from that.

"I’m sure that will spur them on.”

For now, though, Wilson’s main focus is on getting back to fitness and attempting to help Steve Diamond’s side battle at the top-end of the Gallagher Premiership, as well as aiming for success in Europe.

“It’s massively exciting,” he enthuses.

“When I watched training, I wanted to get out there because I realised there are some great players you want to buzz off and feed off, and compete with.

"My next challenge is to get back fit and, hopefully, find my way into this great team.

"Hopefully, I can have some kind of impact at Sale."

And should Wilson need any advice as he adapts to life with Sale, there will be another Cumbrian in Mark Cueto - the club’s commercial director - who may be able to offer some help.

“I’m sure we’ll bump into each other in the next few weeks and have a good chat,” Wilson says.