Louis Deacon’s aiming to get back on England’s radar

Louis Deacon Louis Deacon refuses to concede his England days are over despite the emergence of youngsters like Joe Launchbury.
Rising star Launchbury, 21, was voted man of the series for his breakthrough performances in the Autumn Internationals, a remarkable achievement given that he  started only two of the four games.
But while the Wasps player has undoubtedly a big future ahead of him, Deacon has not given up hope on adding to his own 29-cap tally.
Deacon’s last appearance in an England jersey came in last year’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to France.
Having spent virtually the whole of the calendar year injured through a combination of hamstring and shoulder surgery, 31-year-old Deacon has slipped off the England radar.
He said: “Until I got injured I was one of the starters in the England second row, and the initial thinking this year was to put me in the Saxons with a view to me getting involved in the autumn series. But obviously my injuries put paid to that.
“If England still require me to play a part, I’d love to be involved. But I also understand there are younger guys in there now who are playing  well.” Deacon has been overlooked by Leicester, too, for today’s home Heineken Cup tie against Treviso.
England’s ‘lineout king’, Geoff Parling – another to shine this autumn – is partnered in the second row by in-form Graham Kitchener, who signed a contract extension this week.
Remarkably Deacon and Parling have only once started a Premiership match together as a second row pairing this season – and only four times in total in the last three years.
Deacon added: “Yes, it’s a bit of a strange situation. Unfortunately for me and Geoff ever since he signed we’ve both been injured for long periods and not had much of an opportunity to play together. It’s either been that or one of us has been away on international duty.
“The only time we started together this season was away to Gloucester at the end of October, just before Geoff went away for the autumn series. We struggled that day.
“It was my first 80 minutes of the season and I don’t think we dealt with the hostility of the crowd as well as we should have done.
“It was especially bad on the Shed side of the ground where there was a lot of noise and we struggled to hear the lineout calls.”
Parling, though, put the Kingsholm disappointment behind him and, like hooker Tom Youngs,  rarely put a foot wrong for England over the past month.
Deacon added: “Geoff was absolutely brilliant for England in the lineout and his work-rate and involvement in the physical side of the game – an area where people don’t give him enough credit – was outstanding.”
As for his own form, Deacon reckons he is just about getting up to speed again following yet another lengthy lay-off.
He said: “After being out for nine to ten months initially I found it quite difficult to get back into the swing of things.
“I felt a bit rusty and, if I’m  honest, a bit out of my depth.
“I found scrummaging difficult because it took a while to get the strength back in my shoulder and I struggled a bit in general play.
“But now I’m pretty much back to normal and enjoying myself again.”
JON NEWCOMBE

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