October 22 2014 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce
Thursday, April 3, 2014
EXCLUSIVE: David Strettle is keen to maintain his try-scoring form in the knock-out stages of the Heineken Cup to highlight his ability to play at the highest level and boost his hopes of returning to the England fold.
However, the winger says his primary aim is to achieve success for Saracens as they prepare for Saturday’s European quarter-final against Ulster in Northern Ireland.
Strettle is the joint leading try-scorer in the Premiership this season with nine touchdowns, but he has consistently been overlooked at international level as head coach Stuart Lancaster continues to blood young players ahead of next summer’s home World Cup.
The 30-year-old said: “I’ve always said that if you take care of what you do at your club, the country should take care of itself – but sometimes that may not be the case.
“I think there are a lot of players who are performing well and might not be getting a shout, and it’s part of the game.
“You’ve just got to make sure that you’re consistently playing well so that if your chance does come you’re in their thoughts.
“I can only speak for myself, it’s not something that’s in my mind when I go out and play in a Saracens shirt – you just want to play well for Saracens.
“But obviously in the bigger picture, if you score a few tries against the calibre of teams at this level [in the last eight of the Heineken Cup], it’s international grade rugby so it’s not going to do any harm.”
Saracens reached the semi-finals of last year’s European competition before being defeated by Toulon – and Strettle believes his side have progressed since then.
“We’ve signed some great players and the lads who were already there have improved in the sense that they’ve got more experience now,” he said.
“We’ve strengthened the team and we’ve got to be at the top of our game and learning from what’s happened, and we’ll be in a better place.
“Each year we progress that little bit further and, bar my first year, I feel that every time we’ve been knocked out [of the cup] we’ve had that feeling ‘we could have won that game’.
“Ulster are playing very well. They’ve not only got great individuals but the way they play as a team, it’s very impressive.
“This is the reason you play professional sport, because you get the chance to play in massive games like this. You can tell in training that everyone’s got that extra edge so we’re looking forward to it.”