Willi Heinz sin a stern response has said he does not have to defend his World Cup selection – despite criticism of it from scrum-half rival Danny Care.
Care admitted his rejection had stung more because he had lost out to a player who “I never knew” either wanted to play for England or was able to.
Heinz, who qualifies to play for England through his mum’s mum, revealed to Alex Spink from The Mirror: “I haven’t seen everything but I’ve heard little bits and pieces about (what’s been said).
9 (Backup) – Willi Heinz— The Rugby Blog Guy (@Rugby_Blog_Guy) September 13, 2019
Solid backup to Ben Youngs. Hasn’t really shown nerves in his first few games for England; his passing and kicking seem solid so far. pic.twitter.com/5PjlQDdvXl
“Look, do I feel like I have to defend myself to the team? No, because no one in the team is asking questions about me on that side of things and, at the end of the day, the rules are the rules.
“I’m really excited to be here, I feel really privileged and honoured to represent England and I’m just excited about contributing what I can to the team in whatever way it is going forward.
“All I can say is that my absolute commitment is with England.”
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The Gloucester playmaker, who has roomed with Youngs since he first arrived in camp, has also praised the Leicester star for “getting me up to speed”.
He added: “We’ve spoken about our role, about the 80 minutes and about rather than it being him and me, it being about the 80-minute performance from the nines that we’re putting out on the pitch.”