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Six Nations: Time to end title drought, says Foden

By Alex Lowe

Ben Foden is ready to live up to his promise and help England clinch their first Grand Slam since 2003 with a victory over Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

The Northampton full-back is not afraid to make bold statements and his rallying cry ahead of the RBS 6 Nations was that the time had come for England to end an eight-year title drought.

On the morning of England's opening win against Wales, Foden wrote in his newspaper column that, with all the money and resources available, “It is time we got back to the top.” England's points difference means they virtually wrapped up the RBS 6 Nations title with Sunday's scrappy 22-16 win over Scotland at Twickenham.

But Foden now wants to etch his name alongside the likes of Josh Lewsey, Jonathan Webb and Dusty Hare as Grand Slam-winning full-backs. “Winning a Grand Slam goes down in the history books,” Foden said. “It shows where England have come from.

“A couple of years ago we were struggling a little bit, always coming third or second but never really looking like winning it.

“This year we went in as favourites after the autumn and we've backed it up. We are not the finished article, but as long as we keep winning no-one can really argue with that.

“There's been a buzz around the camp since before the Scotland game that we are playing (for a Slam). Everyone's always sort of said 'You can't talk about it' but it's always been in the back of your mind.

“Now the last hurdle's ahead of us, we can see the goal at the end of the tunnel. There'll be a buzz around camp and hopefully a spring in the step and hopefully that will show in the performance at the weekend.” Foden admits that expectations of a Grand Slam had affected England's performance against Scotland and knows that cannot happen in Dublin, where Ireland will be lying in wait and hurting from their controversial defeat to Wales.

“We let things creep into the back of our minds against Scotland. We knew it was a big game and if we got it out the way we could all focus on this weekend's game against Ireland,” Foden said.

“We were a bit flat when we came out. In this competition you can't do that. It was definitely a wake-up call. If we play like that in Dublin I don't think we'll be getting a victory.

“Winning the game was the most important thing so for us it was just getting past the obstacle. Now we've won four from four and we can really focus on the Ireland game.”

England arrive in Dublin on St Patrick's Day, and Foden knows Ireland will be out to ruin England's party. “Ireland are a very proud nation. They'd love to beat the English,” he said.

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