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 EMEA Ltd
We bring you our pick of the best pictures from around the world in the last seven days with the battle for Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup glory taking centre stage
"If you listen carefully you should be able to hear them mining the granite for the statue of a certain Jonny Wilkinson" Graham Jenkins reports from the Heineken Cup Final
Quade Cooper's defence is better than it was 12 months ago and Robbie Deans has erred in omitting him from the core Wallabies squad to play the Lions, Greg Growden writes
"People on the outside think unfounded thoughts on Toulon." Tom Hamilton talks to RCT lock Nick Kennedy ahead of Saturday's Heineken Cup final against Clermont