Harlequins hooker Dave Ward has been rewarded for back-to-back Heineken Cup man of the match awards with an England Saxons call up.
The 28-year-old, and centre Matt Hopper, received late calls this week to join both Luke Wallace and Charlie Matthews in the squad to face Ireland Wolfhounds in Gloucester on Saturday.
Ward, his club’s third choice hooker at the start of the season, starred as a late Ben Botica penalty secured a 22-20 win at Llanelli Scarlets on Sunday and an Amlin Cup quarter final clash with Stade Francais.
“Playing with world class players at Quins has helped my game improve,” he told the RFU podcast.
“Representing your country is the ultimate high.
“It will be a stressful experience, but also a very enjoyable one.”
Ward starred as director of rugby Conor O’Shea’s men won in Wales with the help of Mike Brown, Karl Dickson and Ollie Lindsay-Hague tries and Botica’s late kicking heroics.
And, with the club still in the hunt for the Premiership title, the former Cornish Pirate believes Quins are right where they want to be.
“We knew it wasn’t the strongest start to the season, but we’ve gathered momentum after the Clermont game in France,” he added.
“We were disappointed to lose to them at home recently, but Sunday’s result has got us into the Amlin Cup and has us up for two trophies, which is where we want to be.”