Balshaw’s Lions hopes boosted by England call

Iain Balshaw will get the chance to stake his claim for a British & Irish Lions squad place when he starts England's next Six Nations clash in place of Jason Robinson. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Iain Balshaw will get the chance to stake his claim for a British & Irish Lions squad place when he starts England’s next Six Nations clash in place of Jason Robinson.

Balshaw, 25, has not played international rugby since March 6 last year when England lost to Ireland at Twickenham, but comes in for the injured skipper for Saturday’s encounter with Italy.

"I had a few injuries when I came to Leeds, and I just wanted to get over them," said Balshaw.

"I have been working very hard on just getting back and playing consistently, and I have been doing all right recently.

"I’ve been getting a little bit better with each game, and the confidence is coming. I am feeling sharper and fitter, and I am just very happy to be back playing some decent rugby."

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Balshaw, a 2001 Lion in Australia, joined Leeds from Bath last summer, and captained the Tykes during Sunday’s Powergen Cup semi-final victory over London Irish.

The Lancastrian now returns to an England side reeling from losing its first three championship games for the first time since 1987, while Italy have also suffered three successive defeats.

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