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VIDEO – Squad togetherness key for new dad Banahan

03 August 2011

  • Matt Banahan chats to RFUtv about being a father and preparing for the Rugby World Cup
  • We’ll all stand together and be a stronger squad says Bath Rugby back

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New dad Matt Banahan has given an insight into the togetherness of the England squad as the Bath Rugby back discusses the birth of his first son and potential involvement in the Rugby World Cup this autumn.

The 6’ 7” star, who played at centre and on the wing in the 2011 RBS 6 Nations, chats to RFUtv about being away from his family in the training camp and the prospect of two months in New Zealand later this year.

The 24-year-old said: "[My son] is 11 weeks old now so it’s tough when I go home but that’s part and parcel of life, you’ve got to take all the stuff on the chin and live with it. There are people in the world with a lot tougher lives so playing rugby and having a son isn’t too tough.

"There are a lot of dads and a lot of new fathers in the squad – a few people are expecting kids over the next couple of months and there are a lot of parents [in the squad] so we all know how each other feel.

England wing Matt Banahan cradles his new son at the end of Bath Rugby's season

Photo: Getty Images

"A lot of them have multiple children as well so they’ve been through it before and missed a few weeks or months of their children’s lives. We’ll all stand together, if selected, and be a stronger squad because of it."

This week England Team Manager Martin Johnson cut the first five names from his initial 45-man Rugby World Cup preliminary training squad, and with the remaining players now preparing for a Test match against Wales, the intensity in training will only increase.

Allied to the harmony in the group, Banahan says there is a buzz and resolute determination among the remaining 40 players to make that final 30-man squad for New Zealand.

"The camp has a good buzz to it," he added. "Everybody knows they’ve got to give their all every day because the squad is not selected yet so you’re trying to minimise, or not have any, of those bad days so the coaches can never look back and say ‘he’s had a bad day’.

"You want to be at the top of your game so when you come into the games you’re selected for you’re flying and that’s what we all want to do.

"We all want to get to the end and get in that squad to go to the world cup."

You can see the England players close up at the first open training session in a Test week at Twickenham Stadium on Tuesday, August 9. Watch Jonny Wilkinson chat about how special it is to meet the fans on RFU.com.