Having been told that he doesn’t fit into England’s plans, Carl Fearns is keen to play for France instead.
Having signed a new deal at Lyon until June 2020, Fearns knows that the door to an England call-up has been firmly closed.
He made non-cap appearances for his country and also represented the second-string Saxons side, but now he is ready to explore the option of playing for France, once he qualifies on residency next summer.
“While that RFU policy is in place, it is finished for me (with England),” he said.
“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.’
Eddie Jones questioned his fitness by saying he would struggle to play 15 minutes of a Test match.
“Yeah, that’s what he said,” Fearns told the Daily Mail.
“That was after he’d asked if I was coming back to England and I told him I wasn’t.
“I just said, ‘I think you’re wrong. I’m playing against top international back-rowers every week in the Top 14 and a lot of them are better than the ones in England, in my opinion.
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“If you look at my stats for last season, I carried the most times in the league and I carried for the most metres, against these big international players. And I was playing 80-minute games.
“So I told Eddie that I disagreed with him, then he said a few more things that I didn’t agree with. 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.”