Banahan takes (outside) centre stage
Jerseyman kicks critics into touch at Twickenham
Bad news and rumour fill local headlines all too frequently. On Saturday 20th November 2010, however, the Island was given every reason to put pen to paper and write about something truly positive.
Last month England Rugby’s Martin Johnson picked Jerseyman, Matt Banahan, to face Samoa in the outside centre position. Banahan had been selected on the back of try-scoring displays against the likes of Argentina at Old Trafford in 2009, a growing presence at Bath RFC (where he has assumed the captaincy on occasion) and impressive performances in the No.13 shirt in the Aviva Premiership.
Outside centre is one of a few eyebrow-raising moves in Banahan’s short but accomplished rugby career. Still in his early 20s, his current role is at least the third string to a mighty bow, having played as a forward, and later out on the wing.
In the build up to the autumn internationals some critics questioned whether he was ready. Like any great sportsman in the making, the Jerseyman seems to have the confidence to want to become the best and the courage to seek to achieve it.
In a bone-crunching encounter Banahan’s physical presence was evident. His strength took him through a thick South Pacific defence and over the gain line. His height and speed were all important in scoring one try, setting up a second and crossing for a third (unfortunately disallowed). Not too shabby given that the milk you put on your cornflakes has seen more days in your fridge door than Banahan has at outside centre.
At the time of writing, the Springboks are next on the menu. Only you know what unfolded.