Nick Abendanon: England hopes rest on improving Bath's position
Nick Abendanon is absolutely determined to put his England disappointment behind him and inspire a Bath charge up the Aviva Premiership table.
After a flying start to the season, many had expected the full-back to be included in Stuart Lancaster’s squad for England’s QBE internationals, which get under way with Fiji’s trip to Twickenham next weekend.
He had impressed during his previous appearance for his country, scoring a hat-trick for England’s midweek side after being called up as injury cover in South Africa.
Instead of joining club-mate Davey Wilson in heading to the national team’s training camp, however, Abendanon will have to settle for a much more low-key arena this week – London Welsh’s Kassam Stadium home in Oxford.
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“I was really disappointed not to be selected for the squad, especially with Ben Foden not being available because of injury,” said Abendanon, who has not added to his two Test appearances since 2007.
“I’ve been happy with the way I’ve played this season and think I’ve done quite well.
“It’s only after the second half against Gloucester that I came off the pitch disappointed with my performance.
“You always hope that you have done enough to catch the eye, but there are other full-backs ahead of me at the moment.
“Hopefully I’m still in Stuart’s thoughts from the summer, but I’ve just got to focus on working hard to get myself back in contention.
“I’ve got to try to continue to perform well for Bath, starting in what will be another tough game on Sunday.”
The club’s stop-start early-season form may have counted against Abendanon in his bid for a recall to the Red Rose set-up this autumn, with Bath looking strong in Europe, but rarely venturing out of the mid-table pack in domestic competition.
However, the 26-year-old wants to put that right to give himself a better chance of furthering his international career when the Six Nations get under way in February.
“Before the Exeter game we were seventh in the Premiership and even after we won we are only up to sixth,” said Abendanon. “That’s not a reflection of where we want the club to be.
“Guys get picked to play for England because they are in a team that’s consistently performing well.
“I’ve got to help push myself to the front of Stuart’s thinking and to do that I’ve got to make sure I help Bath improve and push on up the table.
“If we can maintain the form we are in now and put a couple more wins together, it will mean we are moving in the right direction.
“By the time the Six Nations comes around, if Bath can be in the reckoning for the top four, I’d hope to be in a better position.”