- New dad Ben Foden reflects on the last RBS 6 Nations meeting with Ireland
- Saints full back discusses daughters, fast starts, Kearney and Paris tries with RFUtv
It’s been a monumental week for Ben Foden on and off the field after a sixth international try in England’s 24-22 win in Paris last Sunday was swiftly followed by the arrival of his daughter two days later.
The 26-year-old’s fiancée Una Healy gave birth to Aoife Belle on Tuesday and Foden confirmed mother and baby are well and should be home in time to watch the RBS 6 Nations finale between England and Ireland on Saturday evening.
Discussing how a professional sportsman gets his mind in the right place after a life-changing event in his personal life, Foden said becoming a father makes him even more proud to represent his country.
"It gives me a bit more to play for now, I’ve got a family at home and I want to do them proud. Obviously Aoife’s mother is Irish so that adds a bit more flavour to the whole occasion but I’m sure when she grows older my little girl will be supporting England and her dad.
"It’s a big occasion and I want to make sure I see it off properly. It’s a big game for us as a camp – it is a marker for us and if we can win it we can start things going forward for the next time we meet, which is in the summer for a massive tour to South Africa."
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But the Northampton Saints full back is not looking too far ahead and knows his focus will need to be sharp if Stuart Lancaster’s side are to avenge their last RBS 6 Nations clash with Ireland, when their Grand Slam ambitions were derailed with a 24-8 defeat in Dublin.
Ireland started furiously as four kicks from Jonathan Sexton and a Tommy Bowe try established a 17-3 half-time lead in what Foden remembers as one of his most humbling experiences on a rugby field.
Talking about what he can take from experience in preparation for this Saturday, Foden said: “There was a lot of pressure on us and it was no easy feat to go and turnover Ireland in their back yard.
"We went into the game as favourites but with the pressure that mounted on us we probably went into our shells a bit and Ireland went out there to play rugby – and they came alive.
"It took us 30 or 40 minutes to wake up in that game and realise that something massive was on the line and by the time we realised that it was too late.
"But it’s a different occasion because we’re at home and hopefully the fans will get us revved up and we’ll be hungry to get out and some early scores. We need to start quicker than we did at the Aviva Stadium last time."
Photo: Getty Images
Foden appreciates the attacking qualities of his opposite number and British and Irish Lion Rob Kearney, who has impressed under the high ball and in broken field in the tournament.
The 26-cap international believes the full back has flourished in the progressive style of rugby Ireland are playing and that bodes well for a clash of attacking styles.
"He’s been playing for a strong and positive Ireland team and the way he’s been playing in the competition is a credit to him because he’s been outstanding in counter attack and under the high ball.
"For us it’s one of those games we can go out and play some rugby and really show the world what we’ve got. Hopefully both teams will go out with the same attitude and the wind and rain will stay away and we’ll have a fast and open game."