- England’s rugby league convert Shontayne Hape chats exclusively to RFUtv
- I can now react to what’s around me on the field says Bath Rugby centre
After nine months as an England player, Shontayne Hape believes he is getting to grips with the intricacies of international rugby union.
The rugby league convert has started the last eight England Test matches, a period during which Martin Johnson’s side has recorded victories over Australia (twice), Samoa, Wales and Italy.
In an exclusive chat with RFUtv, the 30-year-old discussed his adaptation to rugby union and said his greater understanding has made crucial decision-making in midfield easier.
Citing his admiration for Rugby World Cup winner Jason Robinson's achievements after switching codes, he said: "When I came over [to rugby union] I had the same problem of thinking as a rugby union player.
"You learn all these new rules and laws, getting to the rucks, making sure you have enough players there to secure the ball and stuff.
"I think now I don’t have to double-think about stuff and can just react.
"Robbo [Jason Robinson] had the instinctive thought later on and he proved to be successful. I just hoping to get halfway to what he achieved and then I’ll be happy."
Hape hoping for positive end to rollercoaster year
Photo: Getty Images
New Zealand-born Hape was hugely successful in rugby league, scoring 85 tries in 136 games for Bradford Bulls and appearing in 14 Test matches for the Kiwis.
The Bath Rugby centre, who was Man of the Match in the November 2010 Investec International victory over Samoa, admits it has been a rollercoaster 12 months but is hoping to round it off with some silverware.
He added: "This year’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me, it’s been a great journey and one that I hope will continue to ride well.
"For me playing in the RBS 6 Nations means a lot because it’s the pinnacle of the English game and playing against the best in Europe. The next step for me is to win trophies, we want to go out there and win this 6 Nations and on the back of that get selected for the World Cup, that’s the long term goal."