Attwood eyes England return
December 30, 2011
Could Dave Attwood be back in England colours for the 2012 Six Nations? © Getty Images
Bath lock Dave Attwood is hoping to resurrect his international career by claiming a place in England's squad for the 2012 Six Nations.
The 24-year-old second row look poised to earn a place in England's plans for the 2011 Rugby World Cup after emerging onto the international stage at the end of 2010. But an 18-week ban, reduced to nine on appeal, for stamping on La Rochelle's Petrisor Toderasc during an Amlin Challenge Cup clash on the eve of this year's Six Nations derailed his Test career just as it appeared to have significant momentum.
But a year on, the former Gloucester forward is back in the mix once again and fancied to get the nod from England's interim head coach Stuart Lancaster when the squad is announced on January 11 with World Cup locks Tom Palmer and Simon Shaw opting to play in France in the face of a Rugby Football Union policy of only selecting overseas-based players in special circumstances.
"Everything was rosy and sunny and wonderful. Then, there I was, sat in a court hearing in Dublin staring mindlessly at the floor thinking, 'Oh my God, where does this leave me?'" Attwood told The Times. "It was gutting. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with, certainly as a rugby player; to feel like you've made so much progress only to drag yourself back down. It was all the more bitter because it was entirely my fault.
"Coming to terms with the fact I'd taken myself out of contention was tough. It wasn't as if I'd been robbed by injury or something I couldn't have avoided. It was a very difficult time and it took quite a while for me to settle down and accept there was nothing I could do about it.
"Perhaps there is a small silver lining in missing the World Cup, considering the chaos that has ensued," he said. "Obviously, with England there's upheaval at the minute. It hasn't been fun for anyone involved and I feel sorry for the people whose trust has been betrayed with all the leaks. All I can do is try to take advantage of the situation.
"English rugby is in a cleansing mood. The fallout from the World Cup has allowed a lot of bad feeling to be exorcised and I'd like to think that, with a new coaching staff in place, there will be a chance to bring in some new faces and look forward. It's a great opportunity to take English rugby in a new direction and get a new group of younger, different players involved."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Gentlemen, if you want to see the World Cup going south yet again, you are going the right way about it," John Taylor looks at the state of European rugby
The Heineken Cup proved once again just why it is the best domestic rugby competition in the world at the weekend and Monday Maul picks out some of the key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring