Nick Abendanon: England recall hopes for Clermont Auvergne star

By Chris JonesBBC Radio 5 live
Nick Abendanon
Nick Abendanon scored the final try in Clermont's 37-5 success over Northampton Saints on Saturday

Nick Abendanon says an England recall would be a "dream come true" after another man-of-the-match display for his French club Clermont Auvergne.

The full-back, 28, was outstanding as Clermont humbled Northampton 37-5 at Stade Marcel-Michelin to reach the last four of the European Champions Cup.

England do not pick players based overseas, but Abendanon has not given up hope of adding to his two caps.

"I've always wanted to play more for England," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"To maybe get the opportunity to join a World Cup squad for a World Cup in England would be an absolute dream come true, but it's not at the forefront of my mind.

"I can only keep playing well here and maybe wait for a call come the summer."

Abendanon won the last of his international caps in 2007, and appeared to be surplus to England's requirements when he left Bath to join Clermont in the summer.

"I came to France because I wanted to experience something new," he said.

"It was an incredibly tough decision to leave Bath - the Bath faithful are a fantastic crowd - but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, which I've done.

Nick Abendanon's last appearance in an England shirt was against France at Twickenham in August 2007
Nick Abendanon's last appearance in an England shirt was against France at Twickenham in August 2007

"I think 90% of the players here didn't know who I was, and it's made me dig very deep, I've worked extremely hard to get in the best shape I can and stay in good form."

The Rugby Football Union's policy is that overseas-based players should not be selected for England, other than in "exceptional circumstances".

Abendanon said: "I'm not really worrying about England, we're in with a chance in the Top 14 and now in the semi-final of the European Cup.

"If Clermont keep playing well and I keep playing well there may be certain dispensation."

European Champions Cup semi-final line-up
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens (Saturday, 18 April at 15:15 BST)
Toulon v Leinster (Sunday, 19 April at 15:15 BST)

After 10 years at Bath, Abendanon's career has been revitalised since he joined Clermont last summer, with Saturday's hammering of Northampton one of the great European Cup performances.

"I don't think it could have gone much better for us," he said.

"At times this stadium has been off the Richter scale, but Saturday evening was a different level. They bang their drums and sing their songs and you can hardly hear yourself think.

"It's an incredible experience and part of the reason why I've come over to France is to experience these kind of nights."

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