Bring on Lobbe and aerial bombardment, says Foden

Ben Foden has vowed to deliver on the biggest day of his rugby career after a frustrating pre-World Cup camp.

England open their campaign against Argentina in Dunedin’s futuristic new stadium, complete with a permanent glass roof, on Saturday.

The England back three were starved of possession during their warm-up Tests against Wales and Ireland, with teams growing wise to the counter-attacking threat they pose.

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But Foden expects Argentina to test England with a barrage of high balls, as they did at Twickenham in the autumn of 2009, and the Northampton full-back will be ready and waiting.

“This is what I have been working for my whole career and I am ready to take it with both hands,” said Foden.

“I enjoy the pressure that comes with rugby. This is probably going to be the biggest stage I have ever performed on and one of the biggest games I will ever play.

“I don’t think I have been that impressive in the warm-up matches. I need to up my game a little bit. If I get the shirt and the start I will look to take my chances when they come.

“Hopefully you will see me back and running a few balls and taking players on.”

Foden was a frustrated spectator for that Twickenham Test against the Pumas in 2009, when manager Martin Johnson opted to play Ugo Monye out of position in place of the injured Delon Armitage.

Monye had a nightmare afternoon as Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe hunted him down under the high ball.

Foden had been knocking on the England door for some time and admitted in a radio interview he was “pretty livid” at being overlooked, prompting a ticking off from Johnson.

Two years on and Foden will get his chance.

“I played with Lobbe at Sale and I know what he is capable of. I look forward to him bearing down on me if they do stick a few up,” said Foden.

“In the last couple of games the half-backs have realised if they kick loosely to us as a back line we are likely to punish them and we haven’t seen as much ball as in previous games.

“It is one of the tactics Argentina revel in with Lobbe chasing and we have been working on how we can counter that and hopefully we can use it to our advantage.”