South African-born Northampton Saints prop Francois van Wyk says he hopes to get a call-up from Eddie Jones once he becomes eligible for selection for England later this month.
The loosehead joined Saints on a one-year deal in 2017 with his career hanging in the balance due to a string of injuries, but since then he has stayed healthy and chalked up 72 appearances for the club.
The 29-year-old Wyk becomes England qualified this month and believes he has what it takes to cap a remarkable career transformation by claiming a Test jersey.
‘I’m English qualified this month and that’s exciting because I’d like to have a good year now and hopefully things will work out for me,’ Van Wyk told The Rugby Paper.
‘When I first came to England, I never knew how long I was going to stay and in my first year I was a bit nervous about whether I’d get contracted again.
‘But once Chris Boyd arrived, along with our scrum coach Matt Ferguson, I stayed and they’ve helped me a lot.
‘At Western Force I had injury after injury and only managed 20 games in four years, so mentally I was at a stage where I couldn’t deal with it. But coming to Saints has been the best thing ever for my career and I’ve played a lot of games in my three years so far.’
Asked if he feels ready to challenge for an England place, Van Wyk replied: ‘100%. Maybe in my first season here I would have doubted myself, but I feel I’ve got the backing of my teammates and coaches now and I back myself to take that next step.
‘Ferg [Matt Ferguson] has played a massive role in that and I’ve changed a lot of stuff in the way I scrummage. I used to be a bit old-school – the South African way if you like – but with the Saints pack we need to be technically very good in order to compete.
‘We’re normally known as a smaller pack, so on that technical side Ferg’s been influential, and I need to acknowledge my teammate Alex Waller as well because he’s also played a massive part in my development.’
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