Lion targets England recall

Lions tourist Riki Flutey wants to win back his England place having finally put injury and ill health behind him. [more]

Lion targets England recall

Lions tourist Riki Flutey wants to win back his England place having finally put injury and ill health behind him.

The 30-year-old centre starred for his adopted country in the lead up to the 2009 Lions tour of South Africa and went on to play a prominent role in the stunning third-Test triumph over the Springboks in Johannesburg.

But things haven’t gone to plan since his return from that momentous tour as his high-profile move to Brive and a quick-fire return to London Wasps have both been plagued by injury.

The past 18 months have been frustratingly disjointed for the New Zealand-born star as he missed most of last season with shoulder damage before sitting out a large chunk of the current campaign with a calf injury.

Having missed the autumn internationals against New Zealand, Australia, Samoa and South Africa, Flutey’s return was then delayed by a further two weeks after he was struck down by flu.

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The former Wellington and London Irish playmaker finally made his first start since October in Wasps’ win over Newcastle on Sunday and he now hopes to push for an England recall ahead of the 2011 Six Nations.

"It's been a while with my calf injury. That took longer than expected,” said Flutey, who last played for England in the narrow defeat to France in last year’s Six Nations.

"It was in an area of my calf that the medical teams with England and Wasps hadn't seen a tear before. It has taken a while but it is good to finally have it right now.

"The England management have been great. I have had the England physios and doctors coming into Wasps once a week to check on things.

"All I need to do is get on the field and get some game-time and I know that will give me loads of confidence going forward into the Six Nations.

"I have got a bit of game-time coming up. I am looking forward to next week against Harlequins and hopefully putting myself in contention for the Six Nations.”

Flutey watched England’s autumn performances with interest and was impressed with what he saw.

The win over Australia left a major imprint but he was equally taken by the mood in the camp and the progress being made on a weekly basis.

Now he wants to be a central part of what he believes will be a massive year for England, starting with the February 4 encounter with Wales in Cardiff.

"I got excited in the autumn by watching training. The coaches were trying to make it harder than it would be out on the field, in terms of intensity, tempo and fitness-wise,” added Flutey.

"You see that going out onto the field and I was excited, hoping to get an opportunity in one of the last two games.

"There are positive signs there with the England team and if I get some game-time I can hopefully push for a place."

England team manager and former Lions skipper Martin Johnson plans to name his updated 32-man squad for the Six Nations on January 12.

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