Rugby World Cup 2011
Foden backs Ashton to break try record
September 28, 2011
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England fullback Ben Foden has backed Chris Ashton to break Jonah Lomu's World Cup try-scoring record after he flew to the top of the charts.
Ashton has hit form once again after undergoing knee surgery during the summer and now has 14 tries in 16 Tests. His hat-trick against Romania took his World Cup tally to five - just three short of the record held jointly by All Black legend Lomu in 1999 and South Africa wing Bryan Habana in 2007.
Ahead of the World Cup, Ashton was listed at 33/1 to finish as leading try-scorer but Foden believes his friend can top that esteemed duo.
"He's definitely hungry enough and greedy enough," laughed Foden, Ashton's Northampton club-mate and England room-mate.
"Ashy is one of those guys who loves scoring tries. He loves doing it for Northampton. He didn't score any for four or five Tests and then scores five in two. Hopefully we'll be seeing a few Ash Splashes at the weekend."
England play Scotland on Saturday in a decisive Pool B showdown, with both teams knowing defeat could bring their World Cup campaigns crashing to a halt before the knockout stages.
"This is definitely the biggest game of my career so far, in terms of what's at stake. We want to win the group and take through a winning attitude," said Foden.
"No-one's ever won a World Cup having lost a game (on the way) so we know what's ahead of us. Scotland are going to be tough opposition and will make things difficult for us. It's a crunch game for them as well. They were unlucky to lose to Argentina at the weekend and they know they have to get a result against us if they are going to progress.
Foden has not quite found his World Cup stride just yet but now seemingly ensconced as England's first choice fullback, he is confident it will come.
"I always want to push myself and get better and I definitely think there is more to come from me," the 26-year-old said. "Hopefully it's just a matter of time before things really start to fly."
Foden has not always felt so wanted by the England management. Less than two years ago he said he was "livid" at being overlooked. Armitage was out injured and England opted to use Cueto and Ugo Monye as stand-in fullbacks instead of turning to Foden, who had given a series of strong performances for Northampton.
As a result, Foden got a dressing down from Johnson. England's management knew him at the time as a converted scrum-half and maverick attacking force but they were less convinced by his defensive qualities. Eventually, Foden forced his way into the side for the final game of the 2010 RBS Six Nations and has been England's first choice ever since.
"One of the reasons they weren't picking me was because I was a wild card and no-one knew what I was going to do at the back. I've shown that little bit of maturity in my game and have fixed up the areas they were worried about. I've worked hard in those areas and shown I can be trusted to play that style of game they wanted me to play."
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