Rhodes eyes future England call-up

Date published: April 11 2017

Michael Rhodes has set his sights on an England international call-up once he gains full residency in 12 months time.

South African-born Rhodes joined Saracens for the 2015/16 season and soon established himself as first choice number six and a fans’ favourite, helping Sarries win the Premiership and Champions Cup for the first time in their history.

A former Stormers player and Michaelhouse schoolboy, where he graduated alongside Pat Lambie, the 29-year-old’s career has had quite the renaissance since moving to the London.

He has once again been in outstanding form this season, most recently scoring a try and making one for Alex Goode in the 40-19 win over Harlequins in front of a bumper crowd at Wembley on Saturday.

Under current law, Rhodes can qualify to play for England after spending three years in the country. One potential stumbling block for Rhodes is the call from Rugby Football Union to push for an increase in the qualification period to five years so as to preserve homegrown talent, with  a vote on the issue due in May.

This withstanding, he has proven himself to be one of the most versatile and effective forwards in European Rugby. He showcased this versatility on Saturday when he had to move to lock after injury to Jim Hamilton, still having a large impact on the encounter.

“I have been here for nearly two years and am contracted with Sarries until the end of 2019 and anything above playing for the club would be amazing if it happened,” Durban-born Rhodes told the Evening Standard.

“England have a really good side at the moment but it would be wonderful if it did happen. I haven’t had any conversations about this because I only qualify in a year’s time and it would be a bit premature to have any discussion.

“I don’t know if he (Eddie Jones) would be interested and so we will wait and see after three years and hopefully I will get that phone call.”