Flood backs Benjamin for England

Date published: December 9 2013

Leicester skipper Toby Flood believes his team-mate Miles Benjamin can break into the England squad if he stays injury free.

Leicester skipper Toby Flood believes his team-mate Miles Benjamin can break into the England squad if he stays injury free.

Benjamin returned to action earlier this season after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a serious neck injury. He shone on the left wing for the Tigers, scoring a brace of tries in two minutes in Sunday's 41-32 Heineken Cup win over Montpellier.

Leicester's win kept up the pressure on Pool Five leaders Ulster, who now lead the Tigers by two points ahead of their return clash with Montpellier next weekend.

When asked if he thought Benjamin, who has played for England's U20 and Saxons sides, has the pedigree to play at Test level, Flood said: “I think so. He just needs a run of games. It's tight for this Six Nations.

“There is a lot of quality there but a lot of that quality is getting injured. If he keeps putting his hand up I do think he's got a chance to be there and it would be a bit of a whirlwind year if he got picked in that squad and had a go in it.

“For me, he's got every attribute you want. He's in incredible shape, he's one of the fastest players I've ever played with and he understands the game really well.

“A credit to him is that he's going to get better and better in this side as people are going to ask more questions and want to see more of him and he's certainly got the potential to stand up to that.”

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill was happy with the five points that consolidated their spot behind Ulster on the table, but bemoaned a lack of accuracy at times in the high-scoring game.

“We wanted to play today and we took our opportunities to score those first three tries very well and then we had three or four more opportunities to score that we didn't take,” explained Cockerill.

“There were probably five or six tries left out there from both sides. We need to be more accurate.

“I don't think there will be as much life in the game next week than it was today but we'll see.

“We needed the five points and that was good for us. It keeps the pressure on Ulster but they're in the box seat. We've got to win next week at Montpellier really.

“We finish with Ulster here and we've still got Treviso which is no easy task either so there's a long way to go with some twists and turns. We'll see where we get to.”

Cockerill also praised Benjamin, who he hopes will build on the performance against Montpellier.

“We know he's got pace and he's still getting better every time he plays and another 80 minutes and the confidence of getting over the whitewash is massive,” Cockerill said.

“We know he's a fantastic player. That's why we signed him. We've not got the best out of him and hopefully this will be the start of a long run for him.”