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No regrets over England switch : Riki Flutey

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Riki Flutey insists he has no regrets over his decision to join England.


Wasps back Flutey featured at all age grades for New Zealand but he qualified for England on residency grounds and the RFU were keen to convince him to change allegiance.


Flutey initially wavered as he thought of former team-mate Jarrod Cunningham – who turned down a chance to play for England. But he was persuaded to make the switch when uncompromising former All Blacks hooker Norm Hewitt sent him a note of support.


Now the 28-year-old could make his England Test debut against the Pacific Islands on November 8.


“I’ve no regrets whatsoever with the decision I made to represent England,” he said.

 

“A year ago when it was being talked about there were mixed thoughts running through my mind.

“I though of Jarrod Cunningham – a good mate of mine who I played with in New Zealand and whose opinion I respected. I knew what he went through.


“He was asked to play for England as well but turned it down and said he would never wear the rose.


“One opinion in particular that I respect is Norm Hewitt’s. He sent a lovely e-mail wishing me all the best and giving his blessing.


“He was a person I looked up to as a leader and a player. When I first saw the e-mail from him I thought ‘oh heck, he might say something about wearing the England jersey’.


“But he told me to go and grab it with both hands and to do my best.


To get comments like that was a real boost.”

 

Flutey was unsure if he would feature for the All-Blacks so the offer of regular international action was too tempting to turn down.

“Generally the reaction in New Zealand has been fantastic,” he said.


“You do get the odd one or two text messages saying ‘what are you up to’, but the people who mean a lot are really supportive.


“Not once have I thought, ‘shucks, what have I done? I’m a Kiwi’. I have no regrets whatsoever.


“I thought about it knowing I didn’t get the opportunity to play for New Zealand at the highest level.


“To get the chance to play at the highest level and test myself against the best players in the world is fantastic.


“I’m proud to wear my England training kit and hopefully I’ll get to pull on the jersey as well.”


Sapa-AFP – Rugbyweek.com

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