England sound out Steenson
January 5, 2011
Gareth Steenson attracted interest from England at the start of the season © Getty Images
Exeter Chiefs fly-half and former Ireland under-21 Gareth Steenson has revealed that the Rugby Football Union have contacted him to sound him out about the possibility of representing England.
The former Ulster No.10 played for Ireland at under-21 and under-19 level but qualifies for England on residency grounds and has not been capped by Ireland at senior level.
The 26-year-old was contacted following an impressive start to the Aviva Premiership season with Exeter in which he scored 69 points in his opening six games.
A knee injury kept him out of action between October and December but he made his return against Leicester last weekend. But he refused to say whether he would be tempted by an England call.
Steenson told RBS6nations.com: "When I was playing at the start of the season nobody from the Irish national set up got in touch with me although I did take a call from someone involved with the English set up. All the call said was that they were keeping tabs on a few players who had started the season well and I was one of them which was nice recognition to get."
Ireland have been reticent to select Premiership based players with the internationals careers of Leicester's Geordan Murphy and London Irish's Bob Casey affected by their refusal to return to Ireland to play their rugby.
Steenson added: "I have never spoken to Declan Kidney or anyone involved with the Irish set up but I have in the England camp. Until then I hadn't given it much thought but we will have to wait and see what happens now.
"You never know what could happen in rugby and I could have a choice to make further down the line - but until then there is a lot of rugby to play and I am just concentrating on getting back with the Chiefs."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures
"Our scrums and lineouts are sometimes not that good but our men are very brave." Ken Borland finds that rugby is on the rise in Senegal
Laurie Fisher talks about the Brumbies and Gloucester, and provides revealing thoughts on the player involvement during the glory days in Canberra