WORLD Cup winner Will Greenwood has challenged Northampton Saints star Ben Foden to prove his international class in this weekend’s Guinness Premiership play-offs.
Chester-born Foden, who began his rugby career with his home-city club, was this week named in England’s 44-man squad for their summer tour of Australia and New Zealand.
And Greenwood is backing Foden to prove exactly why he is the nation’s number one fullback when Saints take on Saracens in the play-off semi-finals at Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday (1.30pm kick-off).
Former Harlequins and Leicester centre Greenwood, who won the World Cup with England in 2003, said: “I am a huge Ben Foden fan but with the summer tour approaching every player needs to finish on a high if they are to put their hand up for selection.
“He can’t think the No15 shirt is his now, he has to fight for it like he was before. He needs to prove himself in the play-offs, in another high-pressure situation, before he goes to Australia where England take on probably the world’s best backline.”
Despite his electrifying performances for Saints, Foden was not an automatic pick for England in the Six Nations. It was not until the final game, against France, that coach Martin Johnson promoted him above Delon Armitage.
Johnson was rewarded with a fine try and the most attacking performance of an English back in the Six Nations.
Former Bishop Heber High School student Foden, who hails from Cholmondeley, will be hoping to topple Saracens on Sunday and secure a place in the following weekend’s Guinness Premiership Final.
England players not involved in the final will be given the once-over by Johnson in the MasterCard Trophy against the Barbarians.
The MasterCard Trophy, England v Barbarians, takes place at Twickenham on May 30.
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