Ben Foden hopes his presence in England’s back three for Saturday’s QBE International against Argentina will inspire former Saints team-mate Chris Ashton in his fight for Test survival.
Head coach Stuart Lancaster suggested Ashton would have been dropped but for injuries to Christian Wade and Marland Yarde, declaring “we’ve put it on him this week, he has a point to prove”.
The Saracens wing made an encouraging start to the club season, but a glaring defensive error contributed to Australia’s only try in Saturday’s 20-13 victory at Twickenham.
Foden replaces the stricken Yarde in the number 11 jersey and expects the decision to reunite him with Ashton will comfort his former Northampton team-mate.
“I’m looking forward to playing with Ashy again because it’s been a while,” said Foden, who plays for Saints at full-back.
“He’s not had the greatest time in an England shirt, so hopefully I’ll be the confidence he needs and I can reassure him.
“Together we always used to make a good team, we’ve looked good on the training field together and still have a laugh and a joke.
“We have an understanding of one another, what each other is about and what we’re trying to create for each other.
“Hopefully we’ll see that at the weekend.
“I’m in a slightly different role but counter-attack is still the same so we’ll demand the ball from (full-back) Mike Brown and try to double up on each side.
“Hopefully you’ll see Ashy and I bouncing off each other and causing their defence some problems.”