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Rugby Union: Ben Foden faces fight for England place

By Northampton Herald & Post  |  Posted: March 22, 2013

- Northampton Saints vs. London Irish, Aviva Premier League, Franklin's Gardens, Northampton, 02.03.13 - Mandatory Credit: akimages/Andrew Kearns - +44(0)781 8644264 - akimages@virginmedia.com - NO UNPAID USE.

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Ben Foden is determined to force his way back into the England reckoning after enduring a frustrating Six Nations which saw him having to watch all of the games from the sidelines.

The Northampton Saints full back struggled with an ankle injury in the build-up to this year’s tournament which affected his form, allowing Saracens’ Alex Goode to take over as first choice in the 15 shirt for the national team.

It was a frustrating time for Foden, particularly as he missed out on last Saturday’s decisive clash with Wales in Cardiff which ultimately ended with England suffering a 30-3 defeat.

“In any big game with anything riding on it and all the hype and ferocity surrounding it, those are the occasions you want to be involved in, especially international rugby because it’s a grand stage to be on and big performances can change peoples’ perceptions of you,” said Foden.

“With Lions tours and England tours coming up, I want to be out there testing myself against some of the best players, but I didn’t make selection. I’ll go away, work hard at the club and make myself right in terms of my body and then put in some performances to justify my selection.”

Not being selected during the Six Nations is a big blow to Foden’s hopes of making the British & Irish Lions squad for this summer’s tour to Australia, which is announced at the end of next month, but he would likely be part of England’s two-test tour to Argentina in June instead.

The 27-year-old’s troublesome ankle forced him to be controversially pulled out of the Saints team to play Gloucester by the England staff at short notice last month, although he admits that was the right call to make.

Foden has since had a steroid injection in his ankle and is now ready to help his side in their challenge for the Aviva Premiership title when the league resumes away to London Wasps on Saturday.

“I haven’t had many injuries or operations during my career and the only one I did I bounced back fairly quickly from, so I was sort of expecting the same thing and probably came back a little bit too early,” said Foden.

“I went full out as soon as they said I could play again. I was doing all of the training, lifting and whatever I could do, but obviously these things need to be monitored and make sure the healing process is completed, and I didn’t really do that.

“With the guys here at Northampton, they held me back from certain sessions, kept me off the high ground and did most of my fitness sessions in the gym so when the weekend comes I’m feeling one hundred percent and hopefully can perform to the best of my ability.”

Ben Foden was speaking at a Land Rover team-building day. Land Rover, as the Official Vehicle of Premiership Rugby, is offering you the chance to win an Aviva Premiership Rugby Final hospitality box. To enter visit www.landrover.co.uk/rugbyprizedraw.

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