What is required from Ben Spencer to be England’s regular No.9?

BEN SPENCER is happy to have made a big noise in the short time he has been at Bath as he looks to impress England boss Eddie Jones.

At 28, the scrum-half is reaching the peak of his powers and is desperate to add to his four replacement appearances for the national side, including his late stand-in role in last year’s World Cup final.

England boss Eddie Jones has pointed out areas he’d like to see Spencer improve on now that he has stepped out of the shadows of Richard Wigglesworth, his long-time rival for the No.9 shirt at Saracens.

“I’ve had a couple of conversations with Eddie and he has given me a few areas to work on,” Spencer revealed.

“One was to be more vocal and organise the pack and I’ve tried to put that into practice as much as possible.

“I still have a huge desire to play for England and I am always trying to put my best foot forward for the club and hopefully that will come later on.”

As one of the new boys in the Rec changing room, Spencer has been conscious, however, not to over-egg it.

“I guess a bit of worry for me was speaking too much, and giving my opinion too much. I didn’t want to walk in here and be shouting my mouth off as such.

“Hopefully, I have got the balance right. It’s a young team that we’ve got here so the more I can voice my opinion the better.

“Obviously, it was pretty difficult (to do that) at Sarries, purely because of the talent in the group.”

The former Ivybridge College pupil’s long-range intercept try on debut in the win over London Irish in round 14 got his Rec career off to a flying start.

Already he has made more metres for Bath in the Premiership this season than he did at Sarries in a third of the game time.

“I am enjoying it so far. I seem to have started off the ‘new’ season, I guess, quite well, and I am looking forward to the games that are coming thick and fast.”

Finding his voice: Ben Spencer was called into the England squad following an injury to Willi Heinz at last year’s World Cup, but did not feature in the Six Nations. David Rogers/Getty Images

Spencer is relishing his new-found role as a squad leader and senior player to young scrum-halves like Oli Fox and Max Green.

“I’m enjoying the younger boys coming through, Foxy and Greeny, they’re both great talents.

I was hugely grateful at Saracens where I had Wiggy and Neil (de Kock) before me, they were huge in terms of my development and I am trying to repay that back now with Foxy and Greeny.”

Having converted Tom de Glanville’s try in the big win at Leicester last weekend, Spencer is keen to get more opportunities in front of goal.

With a kicking percentage of 75 this season, the former Cambridge player’s figures are not too dissimilar to regular Bath kicker Rhys Priestland.

“Whenever the tee gets handed to me, I do enjoy that responsibility. I wouldn’t mind being a regular goal-kicker.”

JON NEWCOMBE

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