Foden indebted to Saint-Andre
March 9, 2012
Ben Foden will hope to leave his mark on France on Sunday © Getty Images
Ben Foden admits he has much to thank Philippe Saint-Andre for after the France coach spotted his potential to be an international fullback.
But this weekend, when England head to Paris for their Six Nations showdown, Foden's only desire will be to make Saint-Andre wish he had never opened his mouth. Foden was a promising scrum-half for Sale when he filled in at fullback in a Possibles v Probables pre-season match, caught Saint-Andre's eye and played a handful of Premiership game in the 15 jersey.
Unconvinced by Saint-Andre's advice, Foden left Sale for Northampton the following summer and was determined to pursue a career as a scrum-half. But it turned out Saint-Andre was right. Foden eventually settled on full-back and he has been England's first-choice for the last two seasons.
"I saw Philippe at a golf event after I had broken into the England team and the first thing he said to me was 'I told you so'," Foden said. "Philippe talked to me when I went to Northampton and said I had massive potential to be a fullback. I'm very grateful in that he spotted my potential.
"I'll always be indebted to him for that. I look forward to seeing him and we'll have a chin-wag after the game. I am sure he will test me out nice and early!"
Foden has been disappointed with his performances for England so far this Six Nations and, with Saint-Andre watching on, there will be no better occasion to prove what he can do as a Test full-back.
"I need a big performance because I don't think I have been that great in this competition so far and I have lot more to give," Foden said. "I feel I am ready for a big game."
Foden made his first Test start against France in Paris two years ago, scoring a try in an England performance of real attacking purpose. But Foden most recent memory of playing Les Bleus is of last autumn's painful 19-12 Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat in Auckland.
Foden is one of only five players still in England's starting line-up and there are some scores to settle.
"That is a memory that will last a long time for me," Foden said. "It is in the heads of those who were involved. we had hopes and promise leading into the Word Cup and France weren't running the hottest when we faced them.
"Everyone thought they were there for the taking but we didn't step up to the mark. It is a constant reminder of what it takes to beat these sides. We played well against Wales (two weekends ago) but it wasn't quite good enough and we left a few opportunities out on the field.
"We need to take that confidence and belief we can go there and turn them over."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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