|Weight||87kg (13st 9lb)|
History has repeated itself for Nick Abendanon, who was called upon as a replacement for the current tour of South Africa just as he was in 2007 when he won the first of his two caps. This time he stepped in after Mike Brown, the Harlequins full back, suffered a fracture and ligament damage to his right thumb during the first Test against the Springboks in Durban. Nick played in both midweek matches and scored a scored a stunning hat trick of tries in a 17-minute spell that took England to a 31-10 half-time lead over the South African Barbarians North at Potchefstroom along the way to a 57-31 victory.
Establishing himself as first-choice full back for Bath after graduating from the club’s academy had proved just a staging post for Nick, who was the 2010 Churchill Cup Player of the Tournament in which he scored tries against Russia and Canada in England’s title win.
An imaginative and elusive broken field runner who is secure beneath the high ball, Nick had marked his Saxons’ debut with a try in the 34-5 win over Italy A in February 2007. His first Test opportunity came three months later, just six days after being man of the match in the Saxons’ 18-3 victory over Scotland A in the Churchill Cup at Twickenham.
After flying to South Africa as a tour replacement, Nick won his first England cap against the Springboks in Pretoria and his second against France in a RWC warm-up match at Twickenham that August. He was omitted from that RWC squad but still set foot on French soil in the final week as a squad replacement for the injured Josh Lewsey.
In the end, Nick did not feature among the match squad for the final against South Africa but he played in four consecutive Churchill Cups (2007-10) and started every match in Denver in 2009. He wore an England jersey most recently when playing for the Saxons against Scotland A at Netherdale last February.
Elsewhere, a try by Nick in the final of the 2008 European Challenge Cup helped Bath to beat Worcester Warriors 24-16 and lift their first trophy in ten seasons. The previous year he had been the competition's joint leading try-scorer with seven as Bath finished beaten finalists. He has now made 111 Premiership appearances for the club and scored 17 tries, including five in 2010-11.
Educated at Cheltenham College, Nick returned to his native South Africa, where he was born in Bryanston, a suburb of Johannesburg, for a short spell in his early teens. He then represented England Schools 18 Group and U19 in the 2005 World Championship and U21. His England Sevens debut was in Dubai in December 2006, when he used the opportunity to exhibit his intuitive skills.
Two months later, he stepped up to the Saxons and in late January last year took over from the suspended Delon Armitage in the England Elite Player squad for the RBS 6 Nations Championship.
2007 SA(2R), F
Last updated: June 26, 2012