Amlin Challenge Cup
Abendanon targets trophy ahead of Top 14 move
May 23, 2014
Nick Abendanon will move to Clermont this summer after almost a decade at Bath © Getty Images
Nick Abendanon is hoping to end his Bath career with a bang in tonight's Amlin Challenge Cup final.
The full back, who will leave Bath this summer for Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne, last tasted Challenge Cup glory with the West Country club back in 2008 and is determined to sign off with another trophy.
"If I can finish how I came in, back in 2008, with an Amlin Challenge Cup winner's medal, that would be all the sweeter," Abendanon told the Times. "We have come close a couple of times in quarter-finals and semi-finals, but have not got over that last hurdle."
Bath had been enjoying an impressive campaign in the Aviva Premiership, only to lose to Harlequins on the last day of the season. That defeat meant Bath missed out on a Premiership play-off spot, so tonight's Challenge Cup final against Northampton Saints represents their last shot at silverware this year.
For Abendanon, the move to France will all but end his hopes of playing again for England, but he refuses to blame anyone else for his failure to add to his two caps.
"There's a bit of frustration and anger on my own part that I could have maybe worked harder to make an unassailable case," he said. "As with Bath this year, you sometimes just need a bit of luck and I never got that luck when it came to pulling on an England jersey."
With England heading out to New Zealand for a three-Test series in June, Abendanon gave the team his backing and predicted trophies on the horizon. And, although the young fly-half George Ford will miss the tour to have shoulder surgery, Abendanon tipped him to be a force on the international stage for years to come.
"I'm sure this team will kick on and be competing for more trophies in the next four to five years," he said. "George Ford, especially, will be instrumental. It is outstanding the way he bosses guys around and the way he trains remind me of Jonny Wilkinson. I honestly think he will become the best player in the world."
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