Tom Dunn insists he is ready to grasp his opportunity with both hands as he looks set to make his England debut against France in the Guinness Six Nations.
The 27-year-old Bath Rugby hooker is in line to make his bow on Sunday in Paris after Luke Cowan-Dickie left the Red Rose training camp in Portugal for family reasons.
Dunn has been included in England squads on seven occasions but is yet to make his long-awaited debut, facing stiff competition from his compatriots in the No.2 shirt.
And Dunn feels he is in a position with his game to take advantage of the chance should it come, sounding positive when asked if he thinks he’s ready for a possible debut.
“Yeah I do,” he said. “I have matured a lot in the last 18 months as a player and a person and that has put me in a good place now to take my opportunity if it comes.
“I’m 27 now so I’m on the older side of things for making a debut. The next couple of days is about getting things right and getting the basics done.”
Dunn wasn’t always tipped for international stardom, having enjoyed spells with London Scottish and Rotherham Titans before making his breakthrough at Bath Rugby.
“I have covered all aspects in rugby and that definitely helps because you never know what you are going to face at the weekend,” he said.
England defence coach John Mitchell revealed the news about Cowan-Dickie, with Saracens’ Jack Singleton called into the Red Rose squad as cover.
“Luke’s gone back home for family reasons,” said Mitchell.
“We obviously want to respect that for him, but we’ve got plans in place should things lead to him not being able to return to Paris. Jack Singleton is on standby.
“At the end of the day, family comes first. We need to make sure Luke’s happy and deals with what he has to deal with.”