Bath's Eastmond out to put England snub behind him
The agenda in English rugby this week was understandably dominated by Eddie Jones' Six Nations squad announcement but it's also been a busy week for Bath.
Leinster host the English side at the RDS tomorrow as they bid to avoid a fifth consecutive Champions Cup defeat and while it hasn't exactly been a quiet week in Dublin 4, Bath have been busy securing the futures of some of their key players.
David Wilson and Kyle Eastmond have both extended their stay with the club, while Bath have also secured the signing Will Spencer for next season.
What started out as a good week for Eastmond ended in disappointment after he was left out of Jones' first squad but it's not a decision that will have been welcomed in every quarter.
Eastmond was instrumental in Bath's win over Leinster earlier this season but the centre has seemingly not done enough to impress the new boss.
Club colleagues Ollie Devoto and Henry Thomas have both earned their first call-ups as they join George Ford, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson in England's 33-man squad but for Eastmond, he is left to play catch up.
The rugby league convert switched codes in 2011 and just two years later made his international debut. At 26, Eastmond will feel as if he still has time on his hands and his performances in Europe are sure to come under the spotlight.
It's been a frustrating season for Bath and they are barely clinging on to their European hopes, which admittedly is more than one can say about Leinster, but nevertheless they are unlikely to advance to the knockout stages, while they have plenty of ground to make up in the Premiership.
"I've never played there," Eastmond said ahead of Bath's trip to the RDS.
"I've seen a couple of games on the preview that we've done. They're a great team. Things probably haven't gone the way they would have liked but they're a great side and we're expecting another tough game.
"Playing for the full 80 minutes (against Toulon) is something that we need to keep hammering home. Last Sunday was an 80-minute performance and hopefully we can take that into this week and build on it for the rest of the season."
Eastmond will have to quickly put his disappointment at not making the England squad behind him but Jones has assured him and all of the other players on the fringes that they can still force their way into his plans.
"I have spoken to some of the players who have not been selected. Naturally they will be disappointed and that is how it should be," Jones maintained
"They know what they need to do to get back into this squad. The door is not shut for anyone. There's no such thing as a shut door because of injuries and loss of form. There will always be opportunities to anyone playing consistently well in the Premiership and Europe."
Starting tomorrow, Eastmond has a chance to prove a point and if he shows the kind of form that he did at the Rec back in November, he may be back in the fold sooner rather than later.
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