Joubert underlines England ambition
September 16, 2012
Ernst Joubert joined Sarries in 2009 © Getty Images
Saracens No.8 Ernst Joubert has underlined his ambitions to represent England at international level.
The South African is now eligible for England on residency grounds, having moved to the Aviva Premiership club three years ago from the Lions in South Africa. The 32-year-old is aware that his age and competition from the likes Ben Morgan and Thomas Waldrom could affect his chance of playing for England, but he remains hopeful that he could yet become an international player.
"As a professional sportsman, my goal is to play at the highest level and it would be a great honour to play for England," he told the Rugby Paper. "I realise it's a long shot with my age and that there are other guys around, but I want to compete against the best in the world at international level.
"It wasn't something I thought about when I signed for Saracens, I came to England just wanting to enjoy my rugby and do what I could for the club. The aim was to win the Premiership, which we've done and never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd get into contention in international circles.
"But I've been here three years and absolutely loved it, so if I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity with England, I'd grab it with both hands."
Joubert has been one of the most influential No.8s in the Aviva Premiership over the past three years and won the Premiership title with Sarries in 2011. Despite hailing from South Africa and having represented the Emerging Springboks, Joubert insists loyalty and passion for an adopted county would not be an issue in trying to emulate his team-mate Mouritz Botha in playing for England.
"There are always going to be questions about a guy's loyalty but I'm the kind of guy who gives 100 per cent for his team-mates in every game," he said. "You're loyal to the guys you play with every week; you want to do your best, not just for yourself but for the people around you as well.
"Look at Mouritz. He had his eye on representing England for a while after starting out at Bedford Athletic and working through. Once he came to Saracens and got a regular starting position, he realised there was an opportunity with England and it became a big ambition for him.
"For Mouritz it's a great honour and that would be exactly the same for me."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton