Ben Foden - Chats 6N, RWC and pulls pints for fans
February 5 2018
Mike Brown has been backed to hold onto England’s No 15 shirt until the World Cup in Japan next year. At 32, debate has raged over Brown’s place in the England starting line-up – especially as Anthony Watson to take up the full back role. But former England international Ben Foden says Brown is still the man for Eddie Jones and should keep his place into 2019.
Northampton full back Foden, who was capped 34 times by England, said: “Mike Brown has been England’s full back for the last three or four years and pretty much cemented himself in that position,” said the Northampton full back.
“Having a guy who controls the back, who marshals the back three like Mike Brown, there’s not many who do it as well as he does - he’s got his big left boot as well. Sometimes that experience at the back is what you need.”
Experience is certainly an aspect Brown has in abundance, with 65 caps and 11 tries for England under his belt, and Foden believes that will secure him the starting place at the World Cup.
“He’s coming to the end of his international career, but I see Mike Brown staying in the 15 shirt until the World Cup,” added Foden.
“Eddie Jones has already made it pretty clear that Brown is his main man when it comes to the 15 shirt, I don’t think there’s enough time to change that. “Brown sits along the spine of the team and he doesn’t get changed very often. “With the World Cup only a year away, I think that Brown is pretty much solid for that position.”
The 2019 Rugby World Cup is now under 600 days away, which in playing terms is plenty of time for Watson to stake his claim on the shirt. Having started on the wing in England’s Six Nations opener against Italy on Sunday and scoring twice, the first within three minutes, Watson is certainly doing his best to solidify his inclusion. The 23-year-old looked assured when he moved to full back after an hour when Jack Nowell replaced Brown, but England will face tougher challenges in the pursuit of a World Cup.
Foden is confident that England can perform in Japan next year, but claims that Jones has to succeed given the current potential of English rugby. Foden said: “Eddie creates his own pressure on himself because he wants to achieve.
“He knows with the pool and the talent of players England have, the money and the facilities that are on offer – playing at Twickenham, Pennyhill Park, training in Portugal – there’s no real excuse for him not to succeed.”
With success in the Six Nations, and anything better than an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the All Blacks in autumn, Foden says the expectation on Jones and England will be immense in 2019.
“Eddie Jones needs to go to the World Cup and do something big – anything less than a semi-final will probably be looked at from an outside point of view as a failure.”
England Rugby star Ben Foden enjoys a pint of Greene King IPA with England Rugby fans at a Six Nations screening in London. Follow @GreeneKingIPA #SupportersSupporter for more information.
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