|CLUB Gloucester Rugby |
POSITION Full back
Iain Balshaw MBE, who bridged a 15-month gap between Test appearances when starting both matches against Australia last June, was a Gloucester newcomer from Leeds Tykes last season, having signed a two year contract. He has triumphed over a series of injuries, including one to his ankle on his Gloucester debut against his former club Bath Rugby last September and another to his groin that restricted him to one RBS 6 Nations Championship appearance against Italy in February.
One of the most dangerous broken field runners in the game, he figured in three RWC matches in 2003 while with Bath. He scored his initial Test tries against Italy (two), Scotland (two) and France during the 2001 Six Nations Championship and ran in the most recent of his 13 against Argentina last November. He has been called into the tour party following the withdrawal of Ben Cohen.
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Iain was educated at Stonyhurst College and represented England Schools 16 and 18-Groups, England Under-19 Colts and England Under-21s along the way to higher honours. He first swept to prominence in 1998-99 when scoring 13 tries in what is the now the Guinness Premiership. His versatility allows him to play wing or full back and his talents extended to representing Lancashire junior teams at tennis and cricket. Brian Ashton, England’s head coach, is among those who rate his skills highly, together with his ability to hit space very late, a potent weapon in the armoury of a natural counter-attacking full back. Ashton said: ”He is good at looking at the panoramic view of the game and reading it well.”