Geraghty hopes to stay in the frame
London Irish fly-half chasing recognition in post-Ashton era
Last Updated: 22/04/08 6:33pm
Geraghty: Exciting future
Shane Geraghty hopes the removal of Brian Ashton as England's head coach will not jeopardise his own international prospects.
The young fly-half won both of his caps under Ashton, including a memorable cameo against France in last year's RBS Six Nations.
It was also Ashton who convinced Geraghty that he should reject an approach from Ireland - whom he had represented at Under-18 level - and instead pledge his future to England.
However, the appointment of new England manager Martin Johnson has brought an end to the reign of a man who has perhaps, more than anyone, aided the 21-year-old's entry into the international arena.
And the London Irish star, who has recently battled a succession of injuries, hopes that Johnson's rise to prominence will not hinder his Test career ahead of this summer's tour of New Zealand.
"I owe Brian a lot. He brought me back from Ireland to the national academy set up," Geraghty said.
"If it wasn't for him then I don't think I would have played for England because he was such a big influence on my career when I was younger.
"He gave me my first shot at international rugby and hopefully now he's gone I'm still in the coaches' minds.
"I trained with the Six Nations squad until I was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury and John Wells, Mike Ford and Jon Callard - who are still there - gave me good feedback.
"All England players want to be in New Zealand this summer. The last game of the Six Nations when we beat Ireland showed that the future is exciting."
Nevertheless, despite Ashton's departure, Geraghty remains convinced that choosing England ahead of Ireland was the right decision.
"It was a difficult choice at the time because when I was approached by Ireland I hadn't started a match for the London Irish first team," he continued.
"It was a shot at playing international rugby maybe before I deserved it.
"In that way it was tempting but when I sat down and thought about it, it wasn't so hard.
"I'd lived my whole life in England, I knew the standard of the players that were coming through in English rugby and wanted to be a part of that.
"Once I'd spoken to people at the club and my family it wasn't that difficult to make up my mind.
"There have been no regrets about the decision and I hope it stays like that in the future."
Geraghty has a chance to shine on Saturday when he starts for his club in their Heineken Cup semi-final against Toulouse at Twickenham.
And his prospects of winning a place against the All Blacks will also have been enhanced by a shoulder injury to Jonny Wilkinson.
Wilkinson requires surgery and will consequently miss the New Zealand tour.
But, while acknowledging there are plenty of alternatives ready to fill Wilkinson's boots, Geraghty is determined to take his chance should it arise.
"It's competitive even without Jonny there. We've got Charlie Hodgson, Toby Flood and Ryan Lamb all competing to step up," he added.
"I would have liked to have played more for England before now but injuries have played their part, coming before the World Cup and then the Six Nations.
"But I'm confident I'll come back from those injuries stronger, fitter and faster."