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Allen ready to take his chance

Leicester centre Anthony Allen is ready to seize his chance with England, but first wants to finish the season in style with a win over Harlequins in Saturday's Aviva Premiership final.

The 25-year-old was recalled by England boss Stuart Lancaster for next month's summer tour of South Africa after he enjoying some of the best form of his career. Lancaster, who knows Allen from his time in charge of the England Saxons, gave the former Gloucester back a second chance at senior-level international rugby following a six-year hiatus.

Allen is focussed on securing a place for the three Test matches against the Springboks. He said: "I'm looking forward to getting back and involved with England. I've worked hard and I've had some injuries this year but I've come back from them and I'm stronger and a better player."

He added: "It's been a while to getting properly involved and going on a tour.

"I've been with the Saxons and Stuey (Lancaster) and I know what he likes and what he's about and hopefully he will stick with what he's set out to do."

Allen made his international debut against New Zealand under Andy Robinson in November 2006 but was then dropped after only his second game following a defeat by Argentina.

The Southampton-born centre believes his time at the Tigers has transformed his game and made him a more complete player.

He said: "I think I'm much more well equipped. I've grown up a lot, especially coming to Leicester and learning a lot from (head coach) Matt O'Connor and what is needed at that high level. I'm certainly more equipped for it now than I certainly was five years ago.

"It's been a long while and I've been in and out of the squads since then but to get an actual proper shot hopefully this tour will have a positive outcome. You get a chance to go on tour and anything can happen. You've got to train hard, go hard, play well in the final and stay positive and really give it your best shot.

"Going on tour you've always got a shot. Inevitably there will be injuries and people picking up knocks while you're there so there's a good opportunity so I've just got to train hard and go well."


From Belfast Telegraph