England v New Zealand: Dave Attwood back after baby joy

Dave Attwood
Dave Attwood will win his 13th cap for England on Saturday, four years after making his debut
Autumn international: England v New Zealand
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 8 November Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, online, mobile and the BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website. Highlights on BBC Three at 19:00 on Saturday.

England lock Dave Attwood says he is looking to cap a "dream" week by beating New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday.

The Bath forward's participation had been in doubt while his fiancée was expecting their first child.

But after the arrival of a baby girl on Tuesday, Attwood says he cannot wait to make a rare start in an England shirt.

"I will definitely be playing this game with a very large motivating factor," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

Attwood's partner Brie had been due to give birth last week, and the 27-year-old admits it had been an anxious time as he weighed up what to do if the baby was born on the day of the match.

"There was a worry for a while because it would have been an incredible feat of emotional juggling," he said. "But we didn't have to cross that bridge in the end."

Attwood made his international debut four years ago, but has only won 12 caps in all, with the majority of those coming as a replacement.

Dave Attwood
Attwood first broke into the England team in 2010

But after dropping his weight over the summer to improve his stamina, Attwood has been in outstanding form for Bath, making him the obvious choice to start for England in place of the injured Joe Launchbury.

"My first cap was four years ago against New Zealand off the bench - so it's come full cycle - and in between there have been some trials and tribulations and I had fallen off the radar a bit," Attwood added.

"But it's a great opportunity for me now to illustrate why I am here and how much I have come on as a player. I want to be in the centre of the pitch more often."

And as well as looking to establish himself as an England starter, Attwood says he now has other motivating factors away from rugby.

"I have the most important person in the world to make proud," he said. "I want people to tell her [his daughter, Jessica] in years to come how I played in this game, and for that to mean something. In the future her opinion of me will be formed this weekend, in a small part."

Another Bath player with a point to prove is centre Kyle Eastmond, who endured a torrid experience in his last England appearance.

Kyle Eastmond takes on New Zealand's Aaron Cruden
Kyle Eastmond was criticised for his performances in England's last Test series in New Zealand

Although he impressed in the first Test match against New Zealand in the summer, Eastmond was hauled off halfway through the heavy third Test defeat in Hamilton, and was widely criticised for England's defensive frailties.

However after a string of outstanding performances for his club, he retains the number 12 shirt.

"Sport is full of ups and downs, and as a team we didn't play as well as we could in the third Test, and nor did I as an individual," the former St Helens scrum-half told BBC 5 live.

"Obviously it hurt - I'm a proud rugby player - but I can understand they needed a reaction from the team.

"Sometimes it's not about you as an individual, sometimes it's about the team, and whatever was right that day to try and get a reaction had to be done, and I had to come off."

Eastmond's opposite man on Saturday will be another dual-code international - Sonny Bill Williams - who has returned to All Black colours after two seasons of playing rugby league in Australia.

"He's a great player," Eastmond said. "He's a good athlete, he can seem to do whatever sport he wants, so fair play."

But despite giving away nine inches and four stone to Williams, Eastmond has promised to take the attack to the world champions at Twickenham.

"Without a doubt. You've got to, haven't you? You can't win games without scoring points. We are going out there to win the game."

England's 2014 autumn internationals
Saturday, 8 November v New Zealand
Saturday, 15 November v South Africa
Saturday, 22 November v Samoa
Saturday, 29 November v Australia

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