Mallinder backs Foden

Ben Foden has been tipped to regain the England full-back jersey after starring in Northampton Saints' triumph over Exeter Chiefs. [more]

Mallinder backs Foden

Ben Foden has been tipped to regain the England full-back jersey after starring in Northampton Saints’ triumph over Exeter Chiefs.

Foden created the opening try as the Saints ended the Chiefs’ unbeaten home record in the Premiership this season.

He faces stiff competition for the number 15 jersey from Mike Brown and Alex Goode but Mallinder reckons he can win the battle to pull on the Red Rose and keep his Lions hopes alive.

2009 Lions Leigh Halfpenny and Rob Kearney have been touted as the front-runners for the number 15 jersey but the English trio are also almong those in contention.

“Ben’s getting back to his best. He’s been out after having an operation on his ankle and when you come back you’re not quite the same for a few weeks,” said Mallinder

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“But he’s ready for the challenge. The lads are playing very well in his position and he knows he has to step up.

“The position is not his but I know what a competitor he is and he will certainly be fighting for that jersey.”

The Saints cruised past Exeter at Sandy Park thanks to tries from Ken Pisi, Soane Tonga’uiha and GJ van Velze.

Courtney Lawes and Dylan Hartley were also impressive in the victory and Mallinder is confident they can prove themselves ahead of the Six Nations.

“Ben and some of the other England players, Courtney Lawes and Dylan Hartley, are on the way up and we just need them on the field and playing as much as possible,” added Mallinder

The Saints are next in action on Friday, in their make-or-break Heineken Cup clash with Castres at Franklin’s Gardens.

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