<
>

Carl Fearns targets France call up after criticism from Eddie Jones

Lyon's Carl Fearns is targeting a call up to the France squad. JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/Getty Images

Carl Fearns is targeting a place in the France squad after being told by Eddie Jones that he would not last 15 minutes in a Test match.

The Englishman turned down a move to Gloucester this summer to remain at Lyon, and with England's policy of not selecting foreign-based players, there is virtually no chance of him earning an England cap.

Now Fearns, who has been nominated for the Top 14 Player of the Year award for the 2016-17 season, has revealed he would be open to a call up to Guy Nov├Ęs' France squad to prove Jones wrong.

"While that RFU policy is in place, it is finished for me [with England]," Fearns told the Daily Mail. "I qualify for France at the end of this season, so we will see what happens there. It's something I would seriously think about.

"I will have just turned 29 by then, so if it's possible, I will look at it.

"If I'm wanted by the French national team, I would do it -- 100 per cent. I want to play international rugby. I feel like when I play against international players, I am at their standard, so I want to test myself at that level."

Fearns could become eligible for France by representing them in Sevens, though the fact that the 28-year-old does not have a French passport could complicate matters.

The Lyon flanker had agreed a move to Gloucester with the aim of earning a Test cap, but a phone call out of the blue from Jones, who wanted to know whether Fearns would make the move back to England, helped him decide to stay in France.

"He called me a whinger and a moaner. I said, 'Hold on, I'm not a whinger because when things weren't going well at Bath, I didn't just sit around and moan, I went to the second division of France to change my career'.

"He was obviously ringing me because he rates me and he wanted me to be playing in England, to be available for selection. But I already had in my head that I wanted to stay and that call reinforced it, really."