Bridgeman eyes up South Africa tour ahead of international

Rugby Action: Kettering Rugby FC v ONs Old Northamptonians  ''Saturday 27th September 2014 NNL-140927-222144009
Rugby Action: Kettering Rugby FC v ONs Old Northamptonians ''Saturday 27th September 2014 NNL-140927-222144009
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Kettering fly-half Tom Bridgeman lines up for England Deaf in Cardiff on today hoping to book a ticket to South Africa.

The 26-year-old is in the starting XV at Cardiff Arms Park having played in both games between the countries last year that ended in resounding wins for Wales.

England hand debuts to five players this weekend and, with a tour to South Africa mooted this winter, Bridgeman says there’s everything to play for.

He said: “Everyone is aiming for that. They are putting that tour together and with everyone wanting to go on that, it’s more competitive than ever.

“The standard was good anyway and now everyone’s pushing that bit harder.

“We lost both games last year, but I would like to think I didn’t play too badly and I’ve been playing at a good level with Kettering this season.”

Whatever the result, Bridgeman, whose hearing in his right ear has been affected by Meniere’s disease since his teenage years, expects it to be closer than last time.

He said: “We got absolutely dominated.

“Wales had been together a lot longer and were a much better side.

“We learned a lot about ourselves individually and as a team.

“But we’ve been together for a year and are a different team now.”

Bridegman also reckons his father Doug, the Kettering coach, has “divided loyalties” about the game.

He added: “Dad and granddad are Welsh and they were big influences on me growing up, so I grew up supporting Wales.

“I never went to watch England play, I went to watch Wales.

“I am in a bit of a strange position, but whoever I’m playing for, I always give 100 per cent and I always want to win.”