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RUGBY: Abendanon in Lancaster's thoughts
12:20pm Saturday 29th September 2012 in Sport
ENGLAND boss Stuart Lancaster has revealed Bath fullback Nick Abendanon is firmly in the frame to replace injured Ben Foden during the autumn internationals.
The Bath No.15 has not been capped since 2007 but was called up as a replacement for this summer's tour to South Africa following a thumb injury to Mike Brown.
Abendanon caught Lancaster’s eye in South Africa with a hat-trick against the South African Barbarians North for the midweek England side.
And the England boss has revealed Abendanon following an impressive start to the season with Bath, Harlequin Mike Brown and Saracen Alex Goode will battle it out for the No 15 shirt when Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand arrive on British shores in October and November.
"Nick is very much in my thoughts; he is one of many, but there are plenty of options,” said Lancaster, speaking at the BMW Academy launch in Reading.
“"Alex Goode and Mike Brown both played full-back in South Africa and both did extremely well. They are two, but Nick Abendanon is playing well at Bath, so we have got good options at full-back.
“And there are still quite a few games to go before the autumn so we will see how it goes and formulate our plans nearer the time.
"The Aviva Premiership is the bread and butter for us as international coaches, you watch every game, every week, and you are always looking for the players who are consistently in form.
“People have one-off big games but it is those players who play well consistently. We have a lot of players in England to choose from, Nick is definitely one of those, and it is making sure we track them all and make the right decisions.”
Lancaster revealed the absence of Foden will be a major blow for England this autumn but he is encouraged by the options he has at his disposal.
Foden underwent an ankle operation this week and will be out until Christmas, meaning Abendanon, Goode and Brown will get an opportunity to impress.
“Losing Ben is obviously disappointing from an experience point of view because he was in the leadership group,” added Lancaster.
“But equally obviously by moving him onto the wing in South Africa it allowed Mike Brown and Alex Goode to get an opportunity.
“So in terms of his position we have got cover there and also Nick Abendanon is playing really well at the moment as well.
“The wider movement of Ben onto the win means there is suddenly a wing spot up for grabs and we are monitoring the form and fitness of quite a few of the players.
“The general philosophy hasn’t changed in the backline as we need a balance of ball carriers, finishers and ball players.
“And how that jigsaw gets put together is still part of our ongoing discussions and it will unfold over the course of time.”
BMW Group UK is the Official Vehicle Partner for the RFU and England Rugby. As a key element, BMW Group UK is Official Partner of England’s elite age grade development programme and front of shirt sponsors of the England Under-16, Under-18 and Under-20 squads.
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