- Ben Foden relishes opportunity to start in any position for England
- Wing says England must match Pumas physicality from the outset
Ben Foden is determined to grab his opportunity when he make his first start for England since June 2012 after a late call-up to play on the wing against Argentina this Saturday.
Foden was named on the left wing for England’s second QBE International this autumn after Marland Yarde failed a fitness test due to a hip injury.
The Northampton Saints full back has won the vast majority of his 32 caps at 15, but injuries and the form of Mike Brown and Alex Goode in recent seasons have restricted his opportunities to play in his club position at international level.
Foden’s last start for England came on the left wing as Stuart Lancaster’s team drew with South Africa in Port Elizabeth in the final Test of their summer tour last June, having scored a fine try from that position in the opening Test.
The 28 year-old has covered the position from the bench and is now ready to deliver a compelling case to the coaches for his regular inclusion in the England’s starting XV.
“It has been a while since I have had a starting shirt so it is a massive opportunity for me to show the coaches that I can still do it at this level,” he said. “I might not be in my familiar 15 shirt but hopefully on the wing I will show the hunger and intensity, and a cool calm head of an experienced international.
“I spoke to Faz [Andy Farrell] and Catty [Mike Catt] in the week and they are confident in me. Obviously I have been running in there a bit anyway as cover from the bench.
“It is just a case of learning the system and making sure I am in the right place at the right time, learning the moves as well with different roles. There will definitely be opportunities out there so hopefully I can relish being on the wing.”
Photo: Getty Images
Foden was involved in England’s series victory in Argentina over the summer, when he came off the bench in both games.
England racked up convincing wins against the Pumas – 32-3 in Salta and 51-26 in Buenos Aires – but Foden insists the Pumas, who will boast 417 caps in their starting XV on Saturday, will be far tougher beasts at Twickenham.
“For us we know that Argentina are a very tough side,” he said.” They are not the same side that we played in the summer. They have quality players coming through and experienced heads.
“A massive loss for them will be Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, who is a good friend of mine and a hell of a player as well. So I am glad he won’t be chasing me down on the wings or competing for the ball in the air. But they have brilliant players and, as I said, they are a very good side and we will have to be at the top of our game to put them away.
“We know they will be an aggressive, dogged team that is going to be very passionate and will really make a fight of it. But if we stick to our systems, we have a quality side that knows what it is doing and has a good game plan to put into action. Hopefully we can play some good rugby and put some points on the board.
“You look for a main threat or a pivotal for their team, and that will definitely come from their scrum. They are renowned for having a very strong scrum and forwards that will carry the ball and get around the corner. So for us, we have to meet them head on first and foremost and make sure we bring physicality to the game and overpower them in some respects if we are going to win the game.”