Foden, Ashton and Wood on England, Chabal and Twitter

We spoke to Northampton and England trio Ben Foden, Chris Ashton and Tom Wood this week, ahead of the huge England v France clash tomorrow.

Chris Ashton

Hutch: How have the preparations been going with your extra week off last week?

Foden: “Last week, we were been looking at the videos of our games, and the French games, looking at their defence and where we can break them down.”

“This week, we’re just making everything sharp and putting the finishing touches on everything. We’re looking pretty good, making some mistakes but it’s good to do it now rather than Saturday. Having that extra week off makes you feel fresh and raring to go again. When you watch your clubs play, and you aren’t allowed to play, it gives you that hunger again.”

Ashton: “The extra week gives people a chance to recover and get the body sorted. We trained well last week, had a couple of days off and came back this week refreshed.”

Hutch: “Has there been any discussion about Marc Lievremont’s comments at the beginning of the week?”

Ashton: “It’s not really got much to do with us. We’re just making sure our training is right and our preparation is right for the game. We’re not bothered about it, we’re just focused on us playing well and doing what we’ve done the last two weeks.”

Wood: “The media hype this week has been huge, and there’s a lot going on, but from our point of view, it’s just another game, we’ll keep our heads down and keep working. The bigger the game, the more important the little details become, so we’ve been focusing on that really.”

Ben FodenFoden: “It’s relevant to the game; it’s a massive game, and people want hype around it. The words he used were pretty harsh from an English point of view, but it’s part and parcel of the game and it’s something that we’ll use to inspire ourselves to go on and put in a big performance.”

Hutch: “And how about their team selection, which is slightly surprising?”

Foden: “It is quite surprising that they’ve changed a few players. Yachvili replacing Parra at 9 is quite a big change, because that’s obviously an influential position. It just shows that they are confident in their squad that they can change it for a big game.”

Wood: “I don’t think you can get too tied up with what the opposition are doing, and what they’re talking about. We’ve just got to focus on what we’re doing. We’ve had a bit of success over the last season or so, and it seems like something is building. We’ve just got to keep taking it one step at a time, and if you get too wrapped up with what the opposition are doing, you forget to play your own game.”

Ashton: “We won’t be changing anything, we’ll be doing exactly what we’ve been doing and hopefully it will work. We think it will, we’re confident with it. I’d like to think that England are a physical side. They’re quite a physical side as well, and Chabal at 8 brings a lot of physicality to the team.”

Hutch: “But everyone knows Chabal would be rubbish if he didn’t have long hair and a big bushy beard?”

Ashton: “Haha. You said that not me.”

Foden: “I was at Sale with Seabass, so I know him well. I know what he’s like on his day, and also when he’s not. Hopefully we’ll get him on the latter.”

Wood: “There are advantages and disadvantages to us in the changes they’ve made, but they can’t pick a bad team. From our point of view, nothing changes.”

Hutch: “So is this the title decider as a lot of people are predicting?”

Wood: “There’s a weight of expectation now with both teams being unbeaten, and with it being at home… ”

Ashton: “There’s still a long way to go. A big game for us in Ireland, and Scotland at home. It’s hard all the way through, so I wouldn’t say any game is a title decider. We’re only halfway through a 5-match series.”

Foden: “We’ve got to focus on ourselves. We know we’ve got the right players and if we can put the right performance together, we know we’re a match for any team.”

Ashton: “You could write this stuff yourself couldn’t you?”

Hutch: “Yeah, say something interesting. Give me a headline.”

Ashton: “Well Fodes is normally in the headlines for the wrong reasons. Being out with The Saturdays, she’s getting into a taxi, or they’re on holiday or something.”

Foden: “Did you see the video I put on Twitter? I got in loads of trouble for that.”

Hutch: “I didn’t, but I can probably find it (here!).”

Ashton: “I’m not on Twitter, but did you see that guy that was pretending to be me? They got it shut down in the end, because he started saying the most ridiculous things. I’m sure it was one of the lads, but I don’t know which one.”

Hutch: “Yes, and Northampton sent out a press release insisting it wasn’t you. It was obvious it wasn’t you though because he was quite funny.”

Ashton: “Yeah. Hang on, what are you saying? It took me a minute there to realise what you meant!”

Hutch: “Anyway, good luck for the game and for the rest of the tournament.”

Ben Foden, Chris Ashton and Tom Wood were speaking in Niketown London’s new Rugby Pavilion which stocks the full Nike England Rugby range. They were there with England team mates for a live in-store Nike Rugby ad shoot. www.nikestore.com/rugby

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